India’s challenge at the Australian Open came to a grinding halt after Sania Mirza and Mahesh Bhupathi crashed out of the mixed doubles after losing their respective quarter-final matches in contrasting fashion in Melbourne on Thursday.
Third seeds Sania and her American partner Bob Bryan were stunned 5-7, 4-6 by the unseeded Czech duo of Lucie Hradecka and Frantisek Cermak.
Fifth seeds Bhupathi and his Russian partner Nadia Petrova lost 3-5, 6-3, 11-13 to the Australian combine of Jarmila Gajdosova and Matthew Ebden.
Sania and Bryan were the first to take the court and the profligate combination frittered away seven of the eight break points earned and ended up being broken twice by the rival pair, which clinched the opening set in 37 minutes.
The second set unfolded in similar fashion as Hradecka and Cermak proved more efficient in grabbing their chances to close the set and the match in their favour after another 28 minutes.
In contrast, Bhupathi and Petrova were in for a more gruelling battle that lasted nearly one and a half hour.
The first set went to the local favourites after they pulled off a couple of service breaks.
Bhupathi and Petrova fought back in the 35-minute second set. The two did not concede a single break point and converted one of the five they earned to draw level after sending down 18 winners against their rivals' four.
In the decider, Bhupathi and Petrova ended up paying for five double faults to lose out narrowly.
Photographs: Lucas Dawson/Getty Images