Rio Olympics: One win away from assuring themselves of an Olympic medal, Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna on Friday said they would have to keep their emotions aside and start afresh when they play the semifinals at Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.
In their bid to win a maiden Olympic medal, Sania and Bopanna dominated the proceedings against the British star duo of Andy Murray and Heather Watson and registered a 6-4 6-4 win in the mixed doubles quarterfinal that lasted an hour and seven minutes at Court 2 of Olympic Tennis Centre in Barra.
“We still think we can improve as every round becomes tougher from here on. We played two amazing champions today and we look forward to playing champions, whoever it is, tomorrow,” Sania said.
“Everyday is a new day. Yes we are confident after beating Andy but in the end we have to forget the emotion what happened and give our best again by staying fresh.”
The Indian duo will face the winners of Venus Williams and Ram Rajeev of the US versus Italian pair of Roberta Vinci and Fabio Fognini in the semis.
The world number one doubles player Sania revealed that they had done their homework against the British pair, something that clicked.
“We had a gameplan, we saw their videos. We had to stick to it and try to keep Andy out of it. We wanted to make him play the uncomfortable shots. He’s obviously the best in the world. We had to try and bring him in,” Sania said.
“My return was coming good for me. Whenever he did play we had to play to his weakness. He was serving and volleying. No matter what happens I know I was the one who’s going to be attacked. That’s what happens when you’re a girl. You obviously expect the ball is going to come to you as a guy always serves better and stronger. You have to be ready.”
Sania also spoke highly of her lanky partner Bopanna who complemented well for an easy win.
“We feel as a team together. I feel my returns were better than yesterday. I was able to break everybody. No matter whom we are playing against. Rohan was also very solid. We had the confidence on each other, unless I did something stupid,” she said.
“We wanted to put pressure on the girl especially. She just won one point in the first two games. That played on her mind I think. We played better than yesterday. It’s a lot of fun with him, even during an intense situation.
“We help each other, fight together. It helps we know each other really well off the court as well. We have played together for many years now.” Bopanna also gave credit to Sania and said the condition was less windy as he got back to his rhythm.
“It was not so windy so it helped. We knew we had to put our A game out there with especially Andy. Sania was returning extremely well and it became easy for me at the net. She hits the ball really hard and aggressive, it makes me easier to move in the court, that made a difference,” he said.
“I also serve much better all due to the conditions. Even the game we lost it was because of some unforced errors, they did not have to do much apart from one return from Andy. We could break back and took the momentum forward. We had to stay away from the strong person which was Andy. That was the obvious choice.
Everyday is a new day. We are taking one match at a time. Every match is tough. It’s going to be a tough match again and we have to be confident. We have a great chance of winning tomorrow,” Bopanna added.