Australian Open: Bhupathi, Paes advance; mixed day for Bopanna
India's Mahesh Bhupathi and his Canadian partner Daniel Nestor won their men's doubles second round match while Leander Paes and Russian Elena Vesnina won their mixed doubles first round encounter at the Australian Open.
Fifth-seeded Bhupathi and Nestor beat Romanian Victor Hanescu and Slovak Martin Klizan, 6-1, 7-6 (8), and they now meet Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fagnini who eliminated 12th seeds Rohan Bopanna and American Rajeev Ram 6-2, 7-6 (3).
Second-seeded Paes and Vesnina were taken the distance by Pakistan’s Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi, Bhupathi’s erstwhile doubles partner, and Swede Sofia Arvidsson for a 6-7 (8), 6-4, 10-7 victory. Bhupathi and Nestor had a tough time in the second set after taking the first in a jiffy. The second set saw the Romanian-Slovak pair hold their serve to force a tie-break, though they were stretched to save three breakpoints in the ninth game.
Bhupathi and Nestor served well to concede only a single break point and they saved even that. In contrast, Hanescu and Klizan looked vulnerable serving, though the Indo-Canadian pair could only convert two of the seven break points they forced. In the tie-break, Hanescu and Klizan gained a mini break to go 4-2 up and had three set points at 6-3. The fifth seeds saved all three and then another at 7-8 before snatching three points to take the set and match.
In one of the early matches to go on court, Bopanna and Ram were down a set even before they could warm up, both dropping their first service games to go 0-4 down. Both good servers, they just could not get into a rhythm and the unseeded Italians seized the opportunity quickly to stamp their authority on the match.
In the second set, Bopanna and Ram managed to force a tie-break, but were soon down 2-5, and could get only one more point before the Italians served out taking both the points. Both pairs had problems with their serve, though the Italians could convert three of their six breakpoints whereas the Indians could manage only one of four they had. Meanwhile, Bopanna, won his mixed doubles match rather convincingly. The Indian, paired with Su-Wei Hsieh of Chinese Taipei, beat Ashleigh Barty and Jack Sock 6-3, 6-3.