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Sania-Bhupathi in mixed doubles final

Last updated on: January 30, 2009 21:24 IST

Sania Mirza and Mahesh Bhupathi entered the mixed doubles final at the Australian Open in Melbourne on Friday.

The unseeded Indian pair got the better of Czechs Iveta Benesova and Lukas Dlouhy 6-4, 6-1 in a 54-minute semi-final encounter.

They will take on Nathalie Dechy of France and Andy Ram of Israel, who shocked the seventh seeded Spanish combination of Anabel Medina Garrigues and Tommy Robredo 7-6 (9-7),  6-4 in the other semi-final.

Sania and Bhupathi, who were runners-up at Melbourne Park last year, trailed 1-3 in the opening set before rallying to victory.

It was hardly the kind of start Sania and Bhupathi, who dropped just one set en route to the semis, would have wanted as Benesova and Dlouhy broke them in the opening game to race to a 3-1 lead. However, the Indians got their act together soon and broke back twice to take the first set in 32 minutes.

They continued in the same vein in the second set and broke thrice. Such was their hold over the proceedings that they did not face a single break-point in the second set, which they wrapped in a mere 22 minutes.

The win is double delight for Bhupathi, who along with Mark Knowles of the Bhamas has also made it to the men's doubles final, to be played on Saturday.

Bhupathi has six mixed doubles Grand Slam titles under his belt with different partners. His last mixed doubles Grand Slam crown was incidentally the Australian Open in 2006 when he had partnered Swiss Martina Hingis. Sania, however, is aiming for her maiden Grand Slam title.

Earlier, Venus and Serena Williams won the women's doubles title, beating Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova and Japan's Ai Sugiyama 6-3, 6-3 in the final.

The tenth-seeded American sisters captured their eighth Grand Slam doubles title in the process, having also won the Australian Open in 2001 and 2003.