Bhupathi advances, Paes loses at Australian Open

Melbourne, Jan 20 (IANS) Indian tennis veteran Mahesh Bhupathi made a strong comeback to the circuit by winning his men’s doubles first round but his one-time partner Leander Paes had to bite the dust as he lost his opening match at the Australian Open here on Wednesday.

Mahesh Bhupathi with his Luxembourg partner Gilles Muller took two hours and 13 minutes to oust local pair of Alex Bolt and Andrew Whittington 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-4 on Court No.7 of the Melbourne Park.

After sharing the first two sets, it all boiled down to the decider where Bhupathi and Muller got the one break of serve they needed to clinch the set and match and advance to the second round. Though the Australian pair got two chances of breaking the serve, they failed to convert them.

Services both flourished and failed during the match. While 26 aces were fired in, 12 by Bhupathi-Muller, both teams also served up five doubles faults each! The Indo-Luxembourgish pair won less points and served less winners than their opponents, but they still managed to win the crucial points and the match.

Later on Court No.15, Paes and his partner Jeremy Chardy crashed out after losing in straight sets to Colombian pair of Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah. The 12th seeds took just an hour and 12 minutes to clinch the match 6-3, 6-4.

Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna will play their respective women’s and men’s doubles first round matches on Thursday.

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