Rohan Bopanna through to Australian Open mixed-doubles quarter-finals

Rohan Bopanna and Nadiia Kichenok rack up another win in the second round.

By Sandeep Banerjee ·

Rohan Bopanna and Nadiia Kichenok’s 11th-hour pairing continued to bear fruit on Sunday as the Indo-Ukrainian duo successfully won the second round of the Australian Open mixed doubles competition 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) against Brazilian Bruno Soares and American Nicole Melichar to move on to the quarter-finals.

The 39-year-old Indian was originally scheduled to partner Sania Mirza but a calf injury ruled her out of the running and Rohan Bopanna teamed up with Mirza’s women’s doubles partner Nadiia Kichenok instead.

Before Sunday’s win, the duo had held off their Australian Open first-round opponents Lyudmyla Kichenok and Austin Krajicek on Saturday.

Rohan Bopanna off to a good start

After the opening set saw a closely-contested competition for the first six games, the seventh saw the tide turn.

With the score tied at 3-3, Nicole Melichar was unable to hold her serve, and after getting two breakpoints, Rohan Bopanna and Nadiia Kichenok converted the third to break their opponents and lead 4-3.

The last-minute pairing of Rohan Bopanna and Nadiia Kichenok have made it to the Australian Open mixed-doubles quarter-finals.

That gap increased to 5-3 after the Indo-Ukrainian duo successfully held serve in the following game, and with both sides holding serve in the next two games, the first set went to Rohan Bopanna and Nadiia Kichenok.

A topsy-turvy battle in the second set

The second set followed a similar pattern to the first, with both sides neck-and-neck for the first seven games. However, this time, it was the Indo-Ukrainian duo who faltered first.

In the eighth game, with the score at 4-3, Nadiia Kichenok failed to hold her serve, as the opposition converted their first breakpoint to lead 5-3.

However, the Bopanna-Kichenok pairing returned the favour immediately as Brazilian Bruno Soares' service game was broken and then went on to hold serve in the next game to equalise the score at 5-5.

Both sides held serve over the next two games to bring the set to a head at 6-6.

A crucial dropshot

In the ensuing tie-breaker, Bruno Soares and Nicole Melichar were broken on the first point, putting them on the backfoot. However, the score was tied at 3-3 after they returned the favour.

The competitors switched sides on the court after that. As the score lay tied at four apiece, a successful dropshot by Kichenok made all the difference, for it broke the Brazilian-American duo and put them on the backburner, trailing at 4-5.

Holding serve in the next two points, Rohan Bopanna and Nadiia Kichenok converted their first match point to win overall in straight sets to move to the mixed-doubles quarter-final of the Australian Open.