An Ace down the middle by Leander Paes and that was that…Another Grand Slam Final for Leander and Martina Hingis , this time in the Mixed Doubles Event of the Australian Open.
And it was a display of vintage doubles play from Martina Hingis and Leander Paes that helped the Indo -Swiss pair make it to the finals with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Su-Wei Hsieh and Pablo Cuevas.
Australian Open Semi Final – Tight First Set
Leander and Hingis were down an early break and at 4-2 the veteran team were in a spot of bother. At this point some sparkling tennis by Leander and some solid net play by Martina Hingis ensured a quick break of serve.
The Magical Return by Leander
Highlight of that set was Leander effortlessly pulling out a half volley from behind his back when pushed back by a strong volley by Hsieh.
Nobody at the Australian Open today, would have seen those gruelling late night sessions that ensure the razor sharp reflexes and fitness of Leander Paes. But everybody saw that magical return . It was enough and more evidence of the class of Leander.
From then on the Indo Swiss pair kept their noses ahead and broke the Taipei/Uruguayan pair once more to win the first set 7-5.
Leander and Martina keep their nerve
The second set started with an early break on the serve of Hsieh and from then on the Indo-Swiss pair protected the break to make it to another Grand Slam Final.
Leander and Hingis did face a few nervous moments on their serve with a couple of double faults and a break point saved with some precision volleying – but displayed the temperament and solid doubles play to maintain the break. And finally it was Leander who served out the match, in a tight game.
The key stat was the 23 volley winners by Martina and Leander. Their ability to push the opponents back by taking charge of the net helped in this win
Coming Up – An Indian (or two) in the Mixed Doubles final
So this win keeps the hopes alive of Leander and Sania Mirza facing off against each other in the Mixed Doubles Final. After a slow start the Indian doubles bandwagon is back !
As for Leander and Hingis, the two veterans have played a lot of Grand Slam finals in the past and they will be a tough challenge for any doubles team