Indian players had mixed fortunes today at the men’s doubles of the Australian Open. Rohan Bopanna, playing with longtime partner Florin Mergea, beat the Czech pair of Lukas Dlouhy and Jiri Vesely 6-4, 6-3 in their second round match at the Australian Open.
Bopanna and Mergea thoroughly outplayed their rivals, with 6 aces to the Czech pair’s 2. They also hit twice as many winners – 28 in all during the course of the match, with accurate serving; they won 83% of their first serves, and committed only 7 unforced errors in the 58-minute match.
Elsewhere, Mahesh Bhupathi and partner Gilles Muller lost their own match against the third-seeded Bryan brothers – Bob and Mike, who won 6-3, 6-2, making quick work of the Indo-Luxembourgish pair. The Bryan brothers are the most successful men’s doubles pair in the game, having won a mammoth 16 titles together.
The Bryan brothers hit 8 aces, with Bhupathi and Muller able to manage only 2 as they were dispatched by the American pair in a quick 53-minute match. Perhaps most glaringly, while the Bryan brothers only committed 3 unforced errors, Bhupathi and Muller played a significantly patchy game, hitting 13 in contrast. Their service also was not as tight as that of the Bryans, who last year exited the open in the third round despite being top-seeded.
Bopanna and Mergea earlier beat the all-Australian combine of Omar Jasika and Nick Kyrgios in their first round match in straight sets, with Bhupathi and Muller also beating an Australian doubles pair – Andrew Whittington and Alex Bolt. Bhupathi and Muller were taken to three sets by their rivals in that match.
Neither player has won the Australian Open title with their respective partners, although Bhupathi has reached the finals on three different occasions, most recently in 2011, with longtime doubles partner Leander Paes. Incidentally, they had lost that title to the Bryan brothers.
Leander Paes and mixed doubles partner Martina Hingis, who won three Grand Slams last year, were due to play today, but rain saw their match cancelled. The Indo-Swiss pair are the reigning champions at the mixed doubles here, and will look to capitalize on that going into the mixed doubles.
Paes crashed out of the men's doubles in his first round match yesterday, losing with partner Jeremy Chardy to Robert Farah and Juan Sebastian Cabal in straight sets.Published 22 Jan 2016, 15:35 IST