Australian Open: Sania, Bopanna lose in women’s and men’s doubles opener

Melbourne, Jan 19 (IANS) Veteran Indian players Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna were eliminated in the opening round of the women’s doubles and men’s doubles, respectively, at the Australian Open, here on Wednesday.

The 35-year-old Mirza and her Ukrainian partner Nadiia Kichenok, seeded 12th, lost 4-6, 6-7 to the unseeded Slovenian pair of Kaja Juvan and Tamara Zidansek in one hour and 36 minutes.

The Indo-Ukrainian pair had three break points in the fifth game of the first set but was unable to convert any of them. They were then broken in the eighth game to trail 5-3 and though they broke back to make it 5-4, they lost serve again in the very next game to concede the set.

In the second set, Mirza-Kichenok broke through in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead. Leading 5-4 and serving for the set, however, Juvan/Zidansek managed to break them back.

The match eventually moved to a tiebreak and Juvan-Zidansek edged ahead in the closing stages to win, an olympics.com report said.

Meanwhile, Rohan Bopanna and Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin lost 6-3, 6-7, 2-6 to the Filipino-Indonesian pair of Treat Huey and Christopher Rungkat in the men’s doubles.

After a comfortable hold of serve in the first two games, the unseeded Bopanna-Roger-Vasselin broke their opponents’ serve in the fourth game and went on to take the first set. There were no breaks of serve in the second set as both pairs played resolutely, with the wildcards Huey-Rungkat eventually taking the tie-breaker to force a deciding set.

In the third set, veterans Bopanna/Roger-Vasselin seemed to have lost steam as they were broken twice — in the third and fifth games. Huey/Rungkat held their serves easily to seal the match in one hour and 48 minutes.

However, both ace Indian tennis players still have mixed doubles to play for at the Australian Open. Bopanna has paired up with Croatian Darija Jurak Schreiber while Sania will play with fellow Grand Slam champion Rajeev Ram of the USA.

–IANS

avn/akm

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