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It was a humid and hot morning in Melbourne with temperatures with an almost 39-degree celsius forcing the Mixed Doubles Finals to be played under the closed roof on The Rod Laver Arena.
The eighth-seeded duo of Croatia's Mate Pavic and Canada's Gabriela Dabrowski scripted a thrilling 2-6 6-4 [11-9] win that helped them edge past the Indo-Hungarian pair of Rohan Bopanna and Timea Babos. It took the pair around an hour and eight minutes to lift the elusive Mixed Doubles trophy in Melbourne.
Undaunted in spite of the sweltering heat, Bopanna and Babos began the match on a high note almost swiftly galloping to three set points. Dabrowski looked like she was struggling on her forehand as Pavic too was finding it difficult to get into the groove. With Bopanna's 73% first serves and breaking the opponents twice, it was smooth sailing for the Indo-Hungarian pair to clinch the first set.
The Croat-Canadian pair of Pavic/Dabrowski came roaring back in the second set. Despite Bopanna dishing out some scintillating tennis by saving four break points to grab the lead aided with some breathtaking returns from Babos, there was no stopping Pavic and Dabrowski. They thundered down 5 aces, recording a brilliant 100% win in first serves and broke Bopanna and Babos to take the second set.
Levelled at one set all, it was a match tie-break to decide the fate of the contest. Pavic and Dabrowski were all fired up and maintained a lead taking the first three games. Babos was super with her smashes and with Bopanna's mighty serves, the match was a thrilling spectacle at the Rod Laver Arena. The crowd went berserk when Bopanna/Babos were at the threshold of a Championship point.
But the fortunes changed with the wink of an eye and a thunderous ace from Pavic denied the Indo-Hungarian pair a chance to close the match out. By sending down another ace and setting up the championship point for themselves, Dabrowski, further hit a perfectly timed forehand return to clinch the victory.
Timea Babos has already achieved the feat of becoming the first Hungarian to win a title at the Australian Open on Friday by lifting the Women's doubles trophy with Kristina Mladenovic.
Bopanna who won his Maiden Grand Slam with Dabrowski at the French Open last year has been a portrait of sheer consistency since then. He had made it to the quarter-finals of all the three Majors in 2017 with the Canadian but teamed up with Babos this year for the Mixed doubles and showing a super performance all through the tournament.
For Mate Pavic, this win is a second Grand Slam title in a week with the earlier coming just yesterday. The duo of Oliver Marach and Pavic defeated Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in straight sets to lift the Men's Doubles trophy at the Australian Open 2018.
Rohan Bopanna lost a very crucial chance of becoming the only fourth Indian to win multiple Mixed doubles titles after the great Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza. Nevertheless, it has been a very consistent show from the Indian and we can hope to see more from him in this year of 2018.