Competing in his last Australian Open, India’s tennis ace Leander Paes has made a winning start as he advanced to the second round of mixed doubles event with partner Jelena Ostapenko on Sunday. Apart from Paes, India’s Rohan Bopanna has also progressed to the quarterfinals in the mixed doubles.
Paes and Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion, erased a one-set deficit to edge out local wild cards entrants Storm Sanders and Marc Polmans 6-7(4), 6-3, 10-6 in the opening round which lasted one hour and 27 minutes.
After announcing that 2020 will be his final year on the Pro circuit, the 46-year-old Paes is probably making his last appearance at year’s opening slam in Melbourne.
They will next face American Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Briton Jamie Murray, who knocked out top seeds Marcelo Melo and Barbora Strycova 3-6 6-4 10-7 in their opening round.
Bopanna and his Ukrainian partner Nadiia Kichenok defeated the team of Nicole Melichar and Bruno Soares 6-4, 7-6(4) in their second round.
Originally scheduled to partner Sania Mirza, Bopanna switched to playing with her women’s doubles partner Kichenok after the injury-hampered former’s progress in the year’s first slam.
Bopanna have already crashed out in the first round of the men’s doubles, losing to the Bryan brothers of America.
Earlier, Mirza’s Australian Open campaign came to an early end after she retired from her women’s doubles opening match on Thursday. The 33-year-old, who partnered with Nadiia Kichenok, was trailing in the 2nd set before she was forced to retire with a calf injury.
The Chinese pairing of Xinyun Han and Lin Zhu were leading 6-2, 1-0 in the 1st-round match against the Indo-Ukrainian pair before Mirza decided to stop the match owing to her injury.