Men's doubles dreams end for Paes at Australian Open 2016 as Bhupathi progresses
17-time Grand Slam winner Leander Paes saw his dreams of an 18th slam ended today as he and partner Jeremy Chardy of France crashed out in the first round of the Australian Open, losing to the Colombian combine of Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in straight sets.
Cabal and Farah thoroughly routed the Indo-French combine, beating them 6-3, 6-4.
Paes and Chardy hit nearly as many winners as their rivals, but also committed more unforced errors during the course of the hour and eleven minute long match. 28-year-old Chardy and Paes are a relatively new doubles combine, with the Indian last year partnering South Africa’s Raven Klaasen and then, Grand Slam winner Daniel Nestor of Canada.
Chardy and Paes did not have the ideal start to the year or their partnership; they participated at the Sydney International Tournament, part of the Australian Open series ten days ago, and crashed out in the first round of that tournament as well, defeated in straight sets by Brazilian doubles expert Marcelo Melo and Paes’ former partner, Daniel Nestor.
At that match, the pair had 8 break point chances, none of which they were able to capitalise on. That story continued this match, with the two only able to convert one of the six chances they had to break their competitors’ serve.
Elsewhere, Paes’ longtime partner Mahesh Bhupathi fared better at the Open. Partnered by Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller, the pair beat the all-Australian doubles pair of Andrew Whittington and Alex Bolt in a three-set, 2 hour 13 minute match.
The victory was a tight one, with Muller and Bhupathi taken to a tiebreak before winning the first set and dropping the second, eventually winning the deciding set for a 7-6, 3-6, 6-4 win.
Despite their win, the pair were taxed – and on occasion, outplayed by their Australian rivals, who hit 47 winners to the Indian-Luxembourgish pair’s 36; the key here perhaps lay in that they committed more unforced errors.
Bhupathi is not the sole Indian in the men’s doubles, with Rohan Bopanna still in the running with his partner Florin Mergea; the pair made the finals of the Apia International in Sydney, losing the title to Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares.
Paes can still hope for a mixed doubles title at the Open, while World No. 1 Sania Mirza will be hoping to continue a brilliant run of form with partner Martina Hingis in the women’s doubles.