First tango in Paris

On his 38th birthday,Mahesh Bhupathi wins mixed double title with Sania Mirza

Written by Agencies | Paris | Published: June 8, 2012 1:24 am

Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza won the mixed-doubles title at the French Open when they beat Klaudia Jans-Ignacik of Poland and Mexican Santiago Gonzalez 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 in the final. The win was even more special for Bhupathi as it fell on his 38th birthday. “This win is special because it is my first Grand Slam after I became a father. My four-month-old daughter would have watched me on television at home,” Bhupathi said after the win.

Sania paid rich tribute to her partner. “He is the best doubles player in the world. Winning the title means I don’t have to worry about a birthday gift for him,” said Mirza. Sania-Bhupathi had a slow start in the match and conceded an early break. However,they picked up as the set progressed,breaking their counterparts in the sixth game. They won the first set in the tiebreaker.

In the second set they seized the initiative when they broke their opponents in the first game. Leading 3-1 in the second set,the Indian pair ensured that the match didn’t enter a third set when they broke their opponents again in the fifth game.

Sara vs Sharapova

Sara Errani said she had no words to describe her surprise at being in the French Open final. The player she beat,Samantha Stosur,was probably every bit as shocked. Errani,the 21st-seeded Italian,advanced to her first Grand Slam final after overcoming an awful second set for a 7-5 1-6 6-3 victory over Stosur,the US Open champion. Stosur committed 48 unforced errors — 27 more than Errani — in a match that shifted between sunny to windy to cloudy after starting more than an hour late because of rain.

The victory gives Errani not one,but two dates in the French Open finals. In singles,she’ll play Maria Sharapova,who eased past World No. 4 Petra Kvitova in the other semifinal 6-3 6-3. Errani is also teaming with Roberta Vinci in doubles,and they’ll play Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova for that title.

Stosur was trying to capture her second Grand Slam in the last three,but the Aussie suddenly lost her composure. After blowing away Errani in the second set,she came out for the third a completely different player. She made 21 unforced errors in the final set,many of the shots flying five,10 feet past the baseline.

Knowing she needed simply to keep chasing and getting balls back,Errani played good defence and made only six unforced errors. On her third break point at 4-3 in the third,Errani got a ball back and Stosur flew a forehand long. Errani then served out the final game at love and fell to the clay. Many of her serves spun in at the 70-80 mph range. She finished the match with no aces,compared to 11 for Stosur and punctured the myth,at least for one day,that women’s tennis is only a power game for power players.

Back on top

She does dream of winning her maiden Grand Slam title in her very first appearance in a slam final,though,she will have to get past someone who hits it as powerfully as anyone out there on the Tour. Sharapova,seeking a career slam of her own,reached her first French Open final and reclaimed the No. 1 ranking. The Russian will be favourite to become the newest member of the Roland Garros champions’ club on Saturday. The swirling winds on Philippe Chatrier Court made life difficult for both players,with Sharapova facing break points on both of her opening service games but it was Kvitova who blinked first.

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