Sania Mirza – Mate Pavic lose in Wimbledon mixed doubles semifinal

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Sania Mirza’s shot at a maiden Wimbledon mixed doubles crown came to an end on Thursday as she and her Croatian partner Mate Pavic lost 6-4, 5-7, 4-6 to defending champions Neal Skupski and Desirae Krawczyk in the semifinal. This was Sania’s best mixed doubles finish at Wimbledon – she had previously reached the quarterfinals in 2011, 2013 and 2015.

The Indo-Croatian duo broke serve in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead and held on to pocket the opening set 6-4. Mirza had plenty of support from the stands as she was backed by a star-studded Indian contingent that featured the likes of cricket icons Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Sunil Gavaskar.

Mirza and Pavic rode the momentum into the second set as they broke serve again in the first game to take the early lead. They led 4-2 at one point but Skupski-Krawczyk mounted a comeback soon after as they earned a break in the eighth game and broke again in the 12th game to clinch the set 7-5 and push the tie into a deciding third set.

The third set was a cagey affair as both teams exchanged breaks in the third and fourth games and then went on to hold serve until the ninth game. The defending champions earned two breakpoints in the following game and converted the second to seal their berth in the final, where they will face the Australian team of Mark Ebden and Samantha Stosur.

Sania, who is set to retire at the end of the season, is India’s most successful woman tennis player with six Grand Slam titles. She has three mixed doubles Grand Slams titles – she won the 2009 Australian Open and 2012 French Open with Mahesh Bhupathi and the 2014 US Open with Brazil’s Bruno Soares.

The 35-year-old also has three women’s doubles Grand Slam crowns in partnership with Martina Hingis – the 2015 US Open, 2015 Wimbledon and 2016 Australian Open.

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