India’s mixed double pair of Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna failed to advance to the final after losing their semi-final match at the Rio 2016 Olympics on Saturday.
The Indian pair lost to USA’s Venus Williams and Rajeev Ram 6-2 2-6 3-10 in the semi-finals and failed to reach the final, which could have been a first for India in tennis. They will now play the bronze medal play-off on Sunday.
No Indian athlete could return with a medal in the first week of the Games and the trend continued on the eighth day. The biggest hopes were from the shooters who disappointed heavily and even though the archers impresses, no one could reach the semi-finals of their respective event.
Sania and Bopanna dominated the match in the first set and got a crucial break in the third game only. They built upon it with a hold and later broke Venus again to lead 5-2. They finished the set with a hold.
Bopanna was the leader for India in the first set with some big serves and producing some mesmerising trick shots at the net. Sania gave him good support with her strong forehand.
The second set was not as easy as the Indians would have liked as Venus and Ram made a comeback. Venus in particular unleashed some of her best shots to rattle the Indian pair. The big occasion took the Indians’ mind as Sania lost her spark from the first set.
The big momentum shift in the match unsettled the Indians and even Bopanna could not get his big serves right. Two breaks in the set gave Venus-Ram the set and it tied the match 1-1.
The super tie-break turned out to be another disaster for India as the USA pair took a 6-3 lead and did not let the Indian pair find a holding. Sania-Bopanna could not score any other point and when Sania hit it out, India lost it 10-3.
Venus jumped in the air to celebrated while Ram stood at the court in disbelief. Ram was not part of the USA Olympics team two weeks before the Games.
Sania and Bopanna can now hope for a better performance in the bronze medal play-off and give India its first medal in the Rio Games.