Big challenge for out of form Sania and Somdev at US Open
New York: Going by present form and their tough draws, it would be a huge surprise if Sania Mirza and Somdev Devvarman move beyond the first round, and it will yet again be Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi who will carry the Indian hopes at the US Open, starting here from Monday.
Sania has not been in good form since her return to the circuit after Wimbledon. Of the five tournaments that she has played, thrice she lost in the first round and twice she fell in the qualifiers.
Somdev too is not in his usual form this season. In the last 10 tournaments, he has managed to reach the quarter- finals only once and only thrice he reached the second round.
As his first round opponent is none other than world number four Briton Andy Murray, Somdev has has no option but to go all out against his superior rival.
It was a clash which was anticipated at the Commonwealth Games last year, but that did not happen as Murray had decided to skip the quadrennial event.
The 63rd ranked Sania is up against Israeli Shahar Peer, who is world number 24, but the Indian holds a 4-1 advantage in the head-to-head count.
Sania will really have to work hard and shrug poor form if she has to move to the second round.
On the other hand the ageing doubles stars – Paes and Bhupathi -- are still strutting their stuff impressively.
They are coming into the tournament after winning the Cincinnati Open. They had downed world number one American pair Mike and Bob Bryan en route to the title.
The three titles they have won this season have come after some really hard work, but the doubles field is too tough to declare favourites.
Each and every round will be challenging and there will be no time to relax.
They are yet to win a Grand Slam after reuniting early this year but now that they are entering the last Major event of the year, it`s a good opportunity to add to their already bulging Slam tally.
Bhupathi has not won a men`s doubles Grand Slam since the 2002 US Open and he would hope that the jinx breaks now.
Another Indian hope Rohan Bopanna and his Pakistani partner Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi will derive hope from their last year`s performance here as they had ended runners-up.
They make a formidable pair and is expected to prove a tough nut to crack.