Australian Open: Indians shine in men’s doubles

Melbourne, (IANS) Indian stars Leander Paes, Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan entered the men’s doubles second round along with their respective partners at the Australian Open tennis tournament here on Thursday.

Paes and fellow Indian Purav Raja defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia and Hungary’s Andreas Haider-Maurer in straight sets in the first round.

The unseeded Indian combination did not face too much trouble from their European opponents as they eased to a 6-2, 6-3 win.

The Indians are expected to face a tough task in the second round as they will be up against fifth seeds Jamie Murray of Britain and Brazil’s Bruno Soares.

Murray and Soares had beaten the unseeded American pair of D. Young and Frances Tiafoe 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 in the opening round on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the 10th seeded duo of Bopanna and French star Édouard Roger-Vasselin got the better of Vasek Pospisil of Canada and American Ryan Harrison by a 6-2, 7-6 margin.

The Indo-French team enjoyed a strong start, bagging the first set without breaking too much sweat.

The unseeded North American-Canadian pair, however, tried to stage a strong fightback in the second set but Bopanna and Roger-Vasselin held on to clinch a comfortable victory.

Bopanna and Roger-Vasselin will now face the unseeded combination of João Sousa of Portugal and Leonardo Mayer of Argentina.

Sousa and Mayer defeated James Cerretani of the US and his British partner Ken Skupski 7-6 (10-8), 7-5 in the opening roung.

In another match, 16th seeds Sharan and his American partner Rajeev Ram had to work hard before carving out a straight-sets win over Viktor Troicki of Serbia and Marius Copil of Romania 7-6, 6-4.

The unseeded European duo gave a tough fight but could not prevent Sharan and Ram from clinching a straight-sets win.

The Indo-American team will face Fabio Fognini of Italy and Marcel Granollers of Spain in the next round.

Medaram Jathara

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