Bhupathi-Bopanna, Paes-Stepanek in Australian Open 2nd round

Bhupathi-Bopanna, Paes-Stepanek in Australian Open 2nd round

The all-Indian pair of Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna had to toil hard for a win but Leander Paes and his Czech partner Radek Stepanek sailed past their opponents to enter the second round of the Australian Open men's doubles event here today.

While Bhupathi-Bopanna rallied to beat their rivals, Paes and Stepanek had an easy outing.

The new "Indian Express" fought back from a set down to win 5-7 6-4 6-4 against the Australian pair of Matthew Ebden and Chris Guccione in a battle that lasted an hour and 43 minutes.

The Indo-Czech pair, in contrast, completely outplayed the Aussie combo of Greg Jones and John-Patrick Smith 6-2 6-2 in an hour and 13 minutes.

The fourth seeded Indian duo, which came up with 44 winners against the 23 by their opponents in the match, lost the first set due to four unforced errors.

But Bhupathi and Bopanna came back strongly in the second set relying mostly on their strong first serve.

In the deciding set, the Indians left no margin for error even as Ebden and Guccione stumbled.

Meanwhile, Paes and Stepanek hardly broke a sweat to topple Jones-Smith. The Indo-Czech duo converted five of the nine break points they earned against their rivals' one out of three.

Paes, having won the doubles title at the Chennai Open with Serb Janko Tipsarevic, is high on confidence.

Australian Open is the only Grand Slam that neither Paes nor Bhupathi has won. They tried to complete the Slam by joining hands last season but the title slipped out of their hands when they lost in the final.