India’s ace tennis player Sania Mirza on Wednesday pulled out of the Australian Open mixed doubles due to a calf injury. Mirza was supposed to partner compatriot Rohan Bopanna. Mirza will, however, play in the women’s doubles event with Ukrainian partner Nadiia Kichenok. The duo will face Chinese pair of Xinyun Han and Lin Zhu in their women’s doubles first-round clash.
The 33-year-old Sania was scheduled to play in the mixed doubles with compatriot Rohan Bopanna but decided to limit her appearance at the first Grand Slam of the season to just one event. Sania, returning to action after a two-year maternity break, had won the Hobart International with Kichenok.
She had pulled her calf muscle during the training in the run-up to the Hobart International and felt the strain during her triumphant campaign last week.
“It’s unfortunate that this niggling injury got aggravated in the Hobart final just as I was getting to the top of my game. It is a lot better now and I intend to give it my best shot in doubles. It’s disappointing to miss out on the chance to partner Rohan in mixed,” Mirza was quoted as saying by the Times of India.
On Wednesday, India endured mixed results as Divij Sharan and his New Zealand partner Artem Sitak progressed to the second round of the men’s doubles event. But it was curtains for Rohan Bopanna who was knocked out in the first round.
Sharan and Sitak got the better of the Portuguese-Spanish duo of Pablo Carreno Busta and Joao Sousa 6-4 7-5 in a thrilling one hour, 28 minutes encounter.
The pair will next face the winner of the first-round match between 10th seeds Mate Pavic-Bruno Soares and Ben Molachlan-Luke Bambridge.
Partnering Yasutaka Uchiyama of Japan, Bopanna went down to USA’s Bryan brothers, Bob and Mike, 1-6 6-3 3-6 in a hard-fought one hour, 17 minutes contest. Bopanna remains in the mixed doubles and has teamed up with Kichenok. They will open their campaign against second seeds Nicolas Mahut and Shuai Zhang.
Leander Paes is also competing in mixed doubles, pairing up with Jelena Ostapenko, who had won 2017 French Open. They are pitted against local wild card entrants Storm Sanders and Marc Polmans.
On Tuesday, India’s top-ranked tennis player Prajnesh Gunneswaran missed out on a chance to play against world number two Novak Djokovic after crashing out in the men’s singles opening round.