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Paes-Sania win mixed doubles gold
December 14, 2006 00:05 IST
Leander Paes picked his second gold medal of the day at the Asian Games when he teamed with Sania Mirza to win the mixed doubles title on Wednesday.
The top seeded Indian pair beat Satoshi Iwabuchi and Akiko Morigami of Japan 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 in a two hour 20 minute battle to bring down the curtain on a heady day for Indian fans at the Khalifa Tennis and Squash Complex.
Paes and Bhupathi had earlier rallied from the brink of defeat to beat the Ratiwatana brothers, Sanchai and Sonchat, of Thailand 4-6, 7-6 (7), 6-3 in thrilling two-hour 43 minute battle in the men's doubles final and retain their gold medal.
Sania had to settle for the silver in the women's singles, as she went down 6-4, 1-6, 6-1 to China's Jie Zheng in the final.
Paes, playing the doubles and mixed doubles final back-to-back, was again the dominating partner and made up for a patchy performance from Sania.
The Japanese pair were off to a swift 3-0 start, but with the all the players struggling to keep their serves, the first set was a see-saw battle. There were as many as four breaks of serve in the first five games of the match, but India served out the set at 7-5, after getting another break in the eleventh game.
The second set was a similar story, but this time the Japanese pair broke away, winning three straight games after being 4-5 down.
India set the tone for the decider, taking a 4-0 lead, from where Iwabuchi-Morigami found it impossible to recover. Sania, who was earlier being targeted by the Japanese, also struck form late in the day and India completed a well-fought win in the gold medal clash.
Though the Indian victory was delayed, with Morigami saving a wobbly service game at 1-5 down, Paes sealed the match with a typically aggressive forehand volley.
Doha Asian Games 2006: The Complete Coverage