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Mixed doubles follow the form book - almost

Ashleigh Barty with a backhand volley.
by William Denny
Wednesday 3 July 2013

The Championships has been serving up surprise after surprise as both the gentlemen’s and ladies’ singles events have seen pre-tournament favourites eliminated early on. However, in the mixed doubles it has been a whole different ball game as no fewer than eight of the top 10 seeds headed into the third round on Wednesday.

However, in keeping with the giant-killing theme at this year’s Wimbledon, the unseeded Australian pair of John Peers and Ashleigh Barty overcame No.6 seeds Marcelo Melo and Liezel Huber. Despite taking the first set, the Australians were blown away by some aggressive strokeplay from Melo and Huber in the second. Having already qualified through to the gentlemen’s doubles semi-finals, Melo was enduring his second outing on No.3 Court on day nine and it seemed to take its toll as the unseeded pair broke serve twice in the deciding set to claim a 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 victory.

Top seeds Bruno Soares and Lisa Raymond remain on course for the mixed doubles title, with a comprehensive victory over Sofia Arvidsson and last year’s gentlemen’s doubles champion Frederik Nielsen. The No.1 seeds ruthlessly tore through their opponents, conceding just two double faults and winning 82 per cent of their first serves in the process. Having won the opening set 6-3, Soares and Raymond broke early in the second and continued to serve well on their way to a 5-4 lead. With Soares serving, Lisa Raymond – last year’s Wimbledon mixed doubles champion – remained aggressive, opening up a 40-15 lead with some impressive volleying at the net. An unreturned serve ensured that the No.1 seeds comfortably progressed through to the quarter-finals where they will face giant-killers Peers and Barty.

The No.2 seeds Horia Tecau – a three-time Grand Slam doubles finalist – and Sania Mirza – a two-time Grand Slam mixed doubles winner – needed just one hour to dispatch Eric Butorac and Alize Cornet in straight sets on Court 12. Having raced into a one-set lead in just 17 minutes, Tecau and Mirza were pushed harder in the second although some solid holds and clinical breaking ensured their 6-1, 7-5 victory.

Serbian Nenad Zimonjic and Slovenian Katarina Srebotnik – the No.3 seeds – were taken all the way on No.2 Court although they comfortably closed out proceedings in the final set, winning 6-2, 6-7(3), 6-2. Despite taking three sets to see themselves over the line, the Serbian/Slovenian pair looked in flawless form, hitting no unforced errors or double faults.

Alexander Peya and Anna-Lena Groenefeld succumbed to No.11 seeds Marcin Matkowski and Kveta Peschke in three sets on No.3 Court. Despite winning the opening set via a tie-break (7-3), the No.5 seeds were unable to prevent the former Australian Open semi-finalists from booking their place in the next round. A 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-2 victory ensures a last-eight meet with Zimonjic and Srebotnik.

No.7 seeds Rohan Bopanna and Jie Zheng were taken to three sets out on Court 12 by the unseeded pair Johan Brunstrom and Katalin Marosi before eventually running out 7-6(7), 3-6, 6-1 winners. Despite a well contested opening two sets, the Indian/Chinese pair took control in the third, winning off an unreturned serve by Jie Zheng in what was their fifth match point of the game.

Two top-10 seeds went head to head on Court 18 as former Australian Open mixed doubles champion Daniel Nestor and his partner Kristina Mladenovic came from behind to topple Aisam Qureshi and Cara Black 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and 28 minutes. The result means that the No.8 seeds will face Tecau and Mirza in the last eight.

Jean-Julien Rojer and Vera Dushevina prevailed in an entertaining encounter on Court 12 against No.14 seeds David Marrero and Kimiko Date-Krumm, with two tie-breaks ensuring a deciding set. At 6-5 up in the third, the unseeded duo claimed a place in the quarter-finals against Bopanna and Zheng following a long forehand by 42-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm.

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