Indian tennis legend Leander Paes kept himself in line for his 15th Grand Slam title by reaching the Australian Open mixed doubles final with Martina Hingis. They defeated Su-Wei Hsieh of Chinese Taipei and Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay in straight sets, in Melbourne, on Friday.
The seventh seeded Indo-Swiss pair registered a comfortable 7-5, 6-4 victory in an hour and 14 minutes.
However, it was curtains for another Indian tennis sensation as Sania Mirza, who paired with Brazil's Bruno Soares, was beaten in the other semi-final.
The third seeded pair of Kristina Mladenovic and Daniel Nestor prevented a summit clash featuring two Indians, as they knocked out the top seeded pair of Sania-Soares, winning 3-6, 6-2, 10-8.
Paes-Hingis broke Hsieh, who till recently was ranked World No 1, thrice in the match.
The 41-year-old Paes has won eight men's doubles and six mixed doubles title in his glittering career. This is the first time he is playing alongside Hingis. The Swiss legend is also a winner of 14 Grand Slam titles, including five singles.
The seventh seeds had a break-point in the very first game when Hingis hit a volley winner but the Swiss missed a backhand winner, letting the Taipei-Uruguay combine hold serve.
Paes's serve was broken in the next game when Hsieh hit a lob for a winner at deuce as the unseeded team took a 2-0 lead in the opening set.
Hingis and Paes initially left enough gaps between them for Hsieh and Cuevas to take advantage, especially the Taipei player who hit winners comfortably, but later dominated the contest.
The seventh seeds got the break back in the seventh game as Hsieh was broken at love, with Hingis hitting a backhand winner on first chance.
What followed was a sensational 20-shot rally which the Indo-Swiss pair won courtesy Paes's super-fast reflexes at the net. The teams were locked 4-4.
Paes-Hingis broke Hsieh in the 11th game and then the Swiss served out the set to nose ahead in the contest.
They yet again broke the Taipei player for an early lead in the second set, zooming to a 3-1 lead. The set went on serve after that even as Paes and Hingis saved break-point in the sixth game when the Indian was serving.