Australian Open: Balaji-Nedunchezhiyan post upset win; Sania & Bopanna too advance

Sania Mirza
Sania Mirza entered the mixed doubles second round in the compnay of Rohan Bopanna. File photo: Instagram@mirzasaniar

Melbourne: The Indian men's doubles pair of N Sriram Balaji and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan stunned fifth seeds Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek in the opening round of the Australian Open here on Saturday.

Balaji and Nedunchezhiyan took two hours 20 minutes to win the first-round fixture 7-6 (6), 2-6, 6-4 against Croatian Dodig and American Krajicek.

In the mixed doubles event, veterans Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna advanced to the second round, with a straight-set win.

Despite having less number of aces and winners, Balaji and Nedunchezhiyan had more service points, and delivered when it mattered the most, converting both their break points.

The Indians, featuring in their debut Grand Slam, won the tie-breaker after saving a set point.

However, they were broken in the sixth and eighth games of the second set as Dodig and Krajicek forced a decider.

A forehand winner in the seventh game gave Balaji and Nedunchezhiyan the crucial break in the third set.

Balaji and Nedunchezhiyan, who had finished runners-up at the Tata Open Maharashtra earlier this month, will take on the French duo of Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin in the second round.

Sania and Bopanna dispatched locals Jaimee Fourlis and Luke Saville 7-5, 6-3 in their opening round.

The Indian pair took a crucial break in the 11th game to take the opening set. Sania and Bopanna dominated the second set, breaking their opponents in the seventh and ninth games.

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