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Veteran Leander Paes and Purav Raja crashed out of the first Grand Slam of the year in Australian Open on Sunday after succumbing in the pre-quarters. The Indian combine were completely outplayed by the 11th seeded Colombian pairing Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 6-1, 6-2 in the third round at Melbourne Park.
The hour and nine minutes were dominated by both Cabal and Farah by their attacking play. Having created openings, Paes and Raja had grabbed opportunities in Five Break-points but squandered them. The two break points in the first set and three in the second which the duo failed to capitalise proved costly for the Indians. But Cabal and Farah converted four of ten chances and broke the Indian pair twice in each set to take the sweeping win and book their berth in the Quarter-finals.
Coming from a scintillating win over the fifth seeded, 2016 Australian Open champions pair of Bruno Soares and Jamie Murray, Paes and Raja had all the much needed confidence in this pre-quarterfinal but could not prevail over the Colombians.
This was the second Grand Slam that the Indian duo played together and came till the third round while last year in the U.S.Open they were ousted in the Round two in New York.
The 44-year-old Leander Paes had reached the last-8 of a Grand Slam in 2016 at the French Open where he partnered Marcin Matkowski and lost to Bob and Bryan. He has not made it to the quarter-finals since then. What was more sad was the Indian pair who had won two Challenger level titles at the close of the last season and were riding a winning wave could not reach deep in the tournament.
Meanwhile, Rohan Bopanna and Timea Babos swept away the unseeded Australian duo of Andrew Whittington and Ellen Perez 6-2 6-4 in a first round of the mixed doubles first round match that lasted less than an hour.
The fifth seeded Indo-Hungarian pair looked dominant from the start breaking Whittington's serve in the very first game. Thundering down 6 Aces and registering a 80% in first serves points won, Bopanna and Babos were authoritative all through the match. Winning a total of 59 points, the Indo-Hungarian pair stole the match from their rivals in the most impressive way to march ahead at Melbourne Park.
They will face USA's Vania King and Croatia's Franko Skugor in the second round.
Other Indians left in the men's doubles draw are Divij Sharan, partnering Rajeev Ram, and Rohan Bopanna, partnering Edouard Roger-Vasselin. Sharan and Ram take on top seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo while Bopanna and Roger-Vasselin face Oliver Marach/Mate Pavic.