Melbourne, January 18: India’s tennis star Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna, with their team-mates, registered a comprehensive win over their opponents on Wednesday and stormed to the second round of Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the season.
Sania Mirza and her Czech partner Barbora Strycova, the fourth seeds, defeated Jocelyn Rae and Anna Smith of the United Kingdom 6-3, 6-1 while Bopanna and his new partner Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay recorded a 6-4, 7-6 (4) victory over the Brazilian/Argentinian pair of Thomaz Bellucci and Maximo Gonzalez.
Mirza and Strycova, runners-up in last week's Sydney International, converted one of their three break points and did not face a single break-point in the first set, winning 38 points to 32 for Rae-Smith to take the set.
In the second set, Rae-Smith broke Mirza-Strycova once, but it was the fourth seeds who dominated, winning four out of seven break opportunities to take the set 6-1 and seal the win in one hour.
On the other side, the men's doubles was relatively more competitive. After both teams held serve in the opening six games of the first set, Bellucci lost his serve in the seventh game. Leading 40-15, the Brazilian-Argentinian duo lost three straight points before saving a break point with a service winner. They couldn't hold serve, however, as consecutive backhand winners handed Bopanna-Cuevas a 4-3 lead.
The Indian-Uruguayan team then held serve twice, sealing the set with a forehand smash-winner. They won 34 points to 30 for their opponents and converted one of the three break point chances they had, while not facing a single break point in the set.
In the second set, five consecutive service holds were followed by Bopanna getting his serve broken in the sixth game. Going down 0-40, the Indian threw in a double fault to hand over an easy break. Bellucci-Gonzalez held serve for 5-2 before Bopanna-Cuevas won three games on the trot to bring the set back on level terms. Serving at 5-3, Bellucci threw in a double fault at 15-40 to hand the advantage right back.
In the tiebreak, Bopanna-Cuevas went down 0-2 before winning four straight points and allowing their opponents only two more points to close out the win in one hour, 24 minutes. They won 44 points to their opponents' 39 in the second set.
Mirza and Strycova will next play Samantha Stosur (Australia) and Shuai Zhang (China). Bopanna-Cuevas will face Alex Bolt and Bradley Mousley of Australia.
Leander Paes and his Brazilian partner Andre Sa and the other Indian pair of Purav Raja and Divij Sharan are yet to begin their campaign. In the Singles, world number one Angelique Kerber, Roger Federer, Stanislas Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Venus Williams were among those who advanced to the third round.