India’s sagging fortunes in the Games got a major boost with Sania and Bopanna cruising into the mixed doubles semis in tennis on day seven of competitions while Vikas Kishan punched his way into the boxing quarterfinals.
Their dominant show came on a day when shooters continued to misfire, archers shot way off the mark while shuttlers and track and field athletes performed below par at this Brazilian city.
Sania and Bopanna subdued Britain’s Andy Murray and Heather Watson with remarkable ease to breeze into the mixed doubles semifinals with a 6-4 6-4 win in just 67 minutes.
One more victory tonight, over US star Venus and her Indian-origin partner Rajeev in the semis will ensure India a silver medal while a defeat would give Sania and Bopanna a chance to fight for the bronze.
Vikas then stood a win away from an elusive Olympic medal as he outclassed Turkey’s Sipal Onder 3-0 to make the quarterfinals of men’s 75kg middleweight boxing.
Former Asian Games gold medal winner Vikas seemed the more assured boxer and will face his stiffest challenge against Bektemir Melikuziev of Uzbekistan, who has also beaten the Indian in the final of the 2015 Asian Championships, on Sunday and a win will ensure the Indian a bronze medal.
Prior to these bright spots, India did not have anything to cheer about.
The men’s hockey team, already assured of a berth in the quarterfinals, led twice against lowly Canada before allowing their rivals to bounce back and earn a 2-2 draw in their concluding pool game.
They will meet Group A champions Belgium in the quarterfinals on Sunday.