Day six of the Rio Olympics 2016 was largely positive for India. The pair of Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna cruised into the tennis mixed doubles semi-finals, beating Andy Murray and Heather Watson, while pugilist Vikas Krishnan advanced to the quarters, both one round away from an assured medal. However, India's shooters, archer, shuttlers and track and field athletes had a disappointing outing. Here's how India fared on day six of the Rio Olympics 2016:
Indian duo of Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna entered the semi-finals of the mixed doubles, defeating Andy Murray and Heather Watson in straight sets. The fourth seeded Indian duo won their quarter-final match 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and seven minutes, dominating their British opponents, with both Sania and Rohan showing some fine work at the net and excellent returns of serve.
One more victory will ensure India a silver medal and a defeat in the semifinals would give Sania and Rohan a chance to fight for the bronze.
Throughout the match on Friday, the Britons never posed a threat to the Indians. Rohan was solid with his booming serve while Sania played superbly from the back of the court.
Murray was clearly struggling with his fitness after having played a gruelling men's singles match earlier in the day, and both players admitted that containing him was the key to winning the match.
"We saw Andy's match last night and our gameplan was to try and take him out of the game as much as possible and play to his weakness, if he has a weakness. It was also to take the ball as much as possible to Heather. Andy was serving and volleying and for me that's a good target," Sania said after the match.
"The conditions were also favourable. It was not so windy even though Andy Murray was playing amazing tennis.. The only way to win the game was to keep Andy away from the ball. And Sania hit the ball very well and helped me move well too. I also served very well today. Luckily we got a clean match in straight sets," Rohan said.
Sania and Rohan are expected to face a tough challenge in their next match, as they will take on the US team of Venus Williams and Rajeev Ram for a place in the final.
Vikas Krishan stands one win away from an elusive Olympic medal after outclassing Turkey's Sipal Onder 3-0 to make the quarterfinals of men's 75kg middleweight boxing.
The Haryana boxer dominated all three rounds of the round-of-16 clash to clinch a unanimous decision, with the judges scoring 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 in his favour. The 24-year-old Indian started off with some counter punches in a fast-paced round game in Pavilion 6 at Riocentro, and carried on the momentum throughout to emerge triumphant.
Sipal seemed to be a bit out of his depth and copped a lot from punishment from the Indian as the judges awarded the first round 10-9, 10-9, 9-10 to Vikas. The 2011 World Championships medallist dominated the second round as well with the judges ruling 10-9, 10-9, 10-9 in his favour. A desperate Sipal tried to adapt a more aggressive approach in the third and final round, but Vikas still managed to get a 10-9, 9-10, 10-10 decision from the judges and wrap up the issue.
Vikas, who is just one win away from a medal, will now face Bektemir Melikuziev of Uzbekistan for a berth in the last four stage.
The men's hockey team, already assured of a berth in the quarter-finals, twice took the lead against a lower-ranked Canada before allowing their rivals to bounce back and earn a 2-2 draw in their concluding pool game.
World No 5 India played an attacking game, but had to wait for 33 minutes to break the deadlock. Akashdeep Singh made it 1-0 for India after scoring on a penalty corner rebound. But Canada, ranked world No 15, took few seconds to make it 1-1 with a successful penalty corner conversion from captain Scott Tupper. Ramandeep Singh deflected a ball in near the right post from a long slap from VR Raghunath to make it 2-1 for India in the 41st minute. But Tupper brought Canada level with a successful penalty corner conversion in the 52nd minute.
Later, India got plenty of opportunities but failed to scored the winner.
With the draw, India dropped to fourth spot with seven points, while Canada ended their campaign with just the solitary point and are now out of the Games. Netherlands and two-time defending champions Germany occupy the first two positions with 10 points each, but the latter is ahead on goal difference.
India will now face a tough challenge against a strong Belgium side in the quarter-final on Sunday.
Indian athletes had an underwhelming day overall, on the first day of track and field events.
Manpreet Kaur failed to get past the women's shot put qualifying round. Manpreet scored 16.68 metres in her first attempt and improved to 17.06 metres in her second. She secured only 16.76m in her third attempt to finish 23rd. The qualifying mark for the 18 shot putters in Group B was 18.40 metres, or the 12 best performers will advance to the final round.
Jinson Johnson's campaign at the Rio Olympics ended after he finished fifth in the qualification round of the men's 800 metres Heat 3. The Kerala athlete clocked 1:47.27 minutes.
Discus thrower Vikas Gowda failed to qualify in the qualifying round, securing 28th position among 35 athletes. The qualifying mark for the 18 shot-putters in Group B was to achieve a throw of 65.50 metres, or the 12 best performers would advance to the final round. Gowda threw 57.59 metres and 58.99m in his first two attempts, and a paltry 58.70m throw in his third attempt, way below the desired mark.
In the men's 20km race walk event, Manish Singh finished 13th with a time of 1:21:21, while his two compatriots, Gurmeet Singh and Krishnan Ganapathi, were disqualified early.
Later in the day, Muhammed Anas and Ankit Sharma also crashed out of their respective events. Anas finished sixth in his heat and 31st overall in the men's 400m event with a timing of 45.95 seconds and could not qualify for the semi-finals while Ankit finished 12th in Group B with a distance of 7.67 metre of the men's long jump qualifying round.
In the 100m sprint, India's Dutee Chand finished seventh in her heats with a timing of 11.69 seconds to bow out of the Olympics as well.
In badminton, the experienced duo of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa was eliminated from women's doubles event after losing a second successive group A clash, while Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy crashed to their second defeat in the group and were knocked out of medal reckoning.
In a rollercoaster game against the Dutch team of Eefje Muskens and Selena Piek, Jwala and Ashwini went down 16-21, 21-16, 17-21 in a 48-minute clash. Lying second from bottom in the group standings, Jwala and Ashwini will have just pride to play for when they take on Puttita Supajirakul and Sapsiree Taerattanachai of Indonesia in their final group clash.
Manu and Sumeeth lost to the Chinese pair of Biao Chai and Wei Hong 13-21 15-21. They lost 18-21 13-21 to World No 2 Indonesian duo of Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan on Thursday. They will finish their Olympics by taking on the Japanese duo of Endo Hiroyuki and Hayakawa Kenichi on Saturday.
Shooter Mairaj Ahmad Khan stayed in the hunt for a medal after he produced a creditable performance to finish 10th in the qualification round of the men's skeet event. However, Gagan Narang, and Chain Singh did not qualify for their respective finals.
Khan had scores of 24, 25 and 23 in the three rounds to amass a total of 72 points at the Shotgun Range of the Olympic Shooting Centre.
Gagan Narang, along with Chain Singh failed to reach the finals of the men's 50 metres rifle prone competition. Narang, a bronze medallist at the 2012 Games in the 10 metres air rifle event, finished 13th in the qualification round with a total of 623.1 points. The 33-year-old scored 104.7, 104.4, 104.6, 103.0, 104.0 and 102.4 in the six series. Chain finished 36th with a total of 619.6 points. Chain posted scores of 104.1, 101.0, 104.4, 102.4, 103.9, 103.8 over six series. Gurpreet also put up a disappointing performance as he finished 10th in the men's 25 metre rapid fire pistol qualification event. Gurpreet scored 289 points in the qualification round.
Atanu Das, India's sole archer still in contention, went down fighting in the men's individual quarterfinals to end the country's campaign in the archery events.
The 24-year-old from Bengal fought valiantly, but ultimately went down 4-6 (28-30, 30-28, 27-27, 27-28, 28-28) to South Korea's Seungyun Lee. It was a neck-and-neck contest at the Sambodromo, and it began brightly for Atanu, who scored a perfect 10 in the first set, before being overpowered by Lee who hit three consecutive perfect 10s to take a two-point lead. Atanu responded strongly with three straight 10s of his own to take the second set 30-28 and square the contest at 2-2 before squaring off the third set.
Atanu flinched just once, in the fourth set, to go down 27-28. That single point proved to be fatal as both archers hit one 10-pointer in the fifth and final set to square it at 28-28, allowing Lee to claim the match by the narrowest of margins.
In golf, SSP Chawrasia brought home a second successive even-par 71 to lie tied at 30th place while Anirban Lahiri carded a disappointing two-over 73 to be placed tied at 51st place after the second round.
Meanwhile, rower Dattu Bhokanal gave a spirited performance and qualified for Final C after finishing second in men's singles sculls semi-final C/D 2.
The 25-year-old from the Indian Army, who had taken up the sport just four years ago, put in a time of 7:19.02 minutes — far from his best — but lead the race throughout only to lose out in the very final second.
Bhokanal, who is competing in his maiden Olympics, will now fight for a world ranking between 13 and 18. Bhokanal, who set his Olympic best in the quarter-final with a 6:59.89 minutes, took 1:44.88 minute to cover his first 500 metres, before completing the 1,000m mark in 3:37.00 minutes.
He was leading till the 1,500m mark, covering it in 5:30.35 minutes before the Hungarian overtook him in the final stretch.