Melbourne, January 29: The American-Colombian duo of Abigail Spears and Juan Sebastian Cabal defeated Indo-Croatian pair of Sania Mirza and Ivan Dodig in straight sets 6-2, 6-4 to win Mixed Doubles title.
Sania and Dodig were favourites in this match, but it was the American-Colombian duo who looked sharper and more aggressive as the contest began. Sania and Dodig were both broken in their first service games and the American-Colombian duo took a 3-0 lead in under 15 minutes. Superb net play and accurate first serves from Spears/Cabal kept their opponents on the back foot.
After being 0-4 down, Sania/Dodig anyhow managed to hold their serves and at 2-5 the Indo-Croatian pair finally looked like they were finding their feet. In the eighth game, they threatened to break Spears/Cabal for the first time, but at 40-40 Sania hit a backhand wide on the deciding point to give the first set to the unseeded pair.
Whereas, the momentum shifted at the beginning of the second set as Sania/Dodig broke Cabal's serve and took a 2-0 lead. At 4-2, they looked on course to take the second set, but then Sania was broken and the momentum went back to the American-Colombian duo.
Soon, another poor service game followed as Dodig committed three doubles faults and the Indo-Croatian pair fell behind (4-5) for the first time in the set. Cabal then held serve to win the set and match. Spears and Cabal won 61 points in all compared with 43 by Sania and Dodig.
The Indian-Croatian pair also committed seven more unforced errors. Spears and Cabal won the title without losing a set during the tournament. In the past, Sania won the Australian Open mixed doubles title in 2009 (with Mahesh Bhupathi) and finished runners-up in 2008 (with Mahesh Bhupathi) and 2014. Notably, this was the fifth appearance in the Australian Open final for Sania Mirza. She had won the women’s doubles last year with Martina Hingis.