Leander Paes kept himself in line for his 15th Grand Slam title by reaching the Australian Open mixed doubles final with Martina Hingis but Sania Mirza bowed out with Bruno Soares after losing the semifinal on Friday.
The seventh seeded Indo-Swiss pair recorded a comfortable 7-5 6-4 win over the unseeded Taipei-Uruguay combine of Su-Wei Hsieh and Pablo Cuevas in the first semifinal which lasted one hour and 14 minutes.
The third seed pair of Kristina Mladenovic and Daniel Nestor prevented a summit clash featuring two Indians, as they knocked out the top seeded pair of Sania and Soares 3-6 6-2 10-8 in the second semifinal.
Paes and Hingis broke Hsieh, who till recently was ranked world number one, thrice in the match.
41-year-old Paes has won eight men’s doubles and six mixed doubles title in his glittering career. He has joined forces with Hingis for the first time in his career. The Swiss legend is also a winner of 14 Grand Slam titles, including five singles.
The seventh seeds had a breakpoint in the very first game when Hingis hit a volley winner but the Swiss missed a backhand winner, letting the opponents hold the serve.
Paes’ serve was broken in the next game when Hsieh hit a lob for a winner at deuce as the unseeded team took a 2-0 lead in the opening set.
Hingis and Paes initially left enough gap between them for Hsieh and Cuevas to take advantage, specially the Taipei player who hit winners comfortably but they later dominated the contest.
The seventh seeds got the break back in the seventh game as Hsieh was broken at love with Hingis hitting a backhand winner on first chance. What followed was a sensational 20-shot rally which the Indo-Swiss pair won courtesy Paes’ super fast reflexes at the net. The teams were now locked 4-4.
Paes and Hingis broke Hsieh in the 11th game and then the Swiss served out the set to nose ahead in the contest.
They yet again broke the Taipei player for an early lead in the second set, zooming to a 3-1 lead. The set went on serve after that even as Paes and Hingis saved a breakpoint in the sixth game when the Indian was serving.