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Mixed day for Indians

Melbourne: Somdev Dev Varman gave a mighty scare to world No. 26 Jerzy Janowicz before fizzling out while Sania Mirza and her American partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands suffered a shock first round exit in a mixed day for the Indians at the Australian Open, on Wednesday.

Somdev was well on course to record his best performance at the Grand Slams but frittered away a two-set lead to go down 7-6 (10), 6-3, 1-6, 0-6, 5-7 against 24th seed Polish rival in a marathon men’s singles second round, which lasted four hours.

The 24th seed was enraged by a line call during the tiebreak at the end of the 79-minute first set and roared out his displeasure before hitting the umpire’s chair with his racket and throwing his water bottle across court.

Somdev showed he has recovered well from his shoulder surgery, which spoilt his 2012 season, but somehow could not complete the job despite a magnificent start. He was lone Indian featuring in the men’s singles.

In women’s doubles, Sania and Bethanie, who came into tournament after winning the Brisbane International, were ousted by unseeded Spanish team of Silvia Soler-Espinosa and Carla Suarez Navarro. The 10th seed Indo-American team bowed out with a 6-7(4) 3-6 defeat in their opening round. Sania will now compete in the mixed doubles with Bob Bryan.

However, there was something to cheer for India in the men’s doubles as Rohan Bopanna and Mahesh Bhupathi advanced to the second round with their respective partners. Bopanna and American Rajeev Ram, seeded 12th, defeated Australian pair of Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios 6-2, 6-4 in their first round.

The fifth-seeded duo of Mahesh Bhupathi and Canadian Daniel Nestor ousted the Spanish pair of Pablo Andujar and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2, 6-4 in their first round match. (PTI)