Bopanna advances, Bhupathi out of Australian Open

Melbourne, Jan 22 (IANS) India’s Rohan Bopanna earned an easy win to enter the men’s doubles third round on a rain-plagued Friday here at the Australian Open. But his compatriot and former partner Mahesh Bhupathi’s comeback trail to the circuit was cut short by the Bryan brothers.

It was an easy outing for Indo-Romanian fourth seeds Bopanna and Florin Mergea who took only 58 minutes to get rid off the Czech pair of Lukas Dlouhy and Jiri Vesely 6-2, 6-3 in the second round encounter on Court No.8 at Melbourne Park. They will next play Filipino-Belarusian 14th seeds Treat Huey and Max Mirnyi.

Bopanna and Mergea were easily the better pair, winning 65 of the 111 points played in the match. They kept their unforced errors to single digit (7), to that of their opponents’ 13, but also served 28 winners, double that of Dlouhy and Vesely.

Most importantly, the fourth seeds broke the Czech pair thrice out of seven chances to none of their opponents.

Earlier, Bhupathi and Luxembourgish Gilles Muller lost their second round contest in straight sets to Bob and Mike Bryan. The third seeded Americans needed just 53 minutes to oust Bhupathi and Muller 6-3, 6-2 on Show Court No.3.

The Americans were far better than their opponents with the Indo-Luxembourg pair not able to match up to the fast standards of modern doubles tennis.

Bhupathi looked completely out of touch, and the pair made 13 unforced errors, 10 more than their opponents, negating the fact that their total number of winners matched those of Bob and Mike.

Bhupathi and Muller’s returns and shots were wayward, with the ball regularly hitting the net or going out of the field of play. Also, the third seeds won a total of 58 points in the contest, 19 more than their opponents.

Defending champions in the mixed doubles category, Leander Paes and Martina Hingis’ opening match against the British-Russian pair of Dominic Inglot and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova was cancelled due to heavy showers.

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