Australian Open: Indian challenge in men's double ends as Divij Sharan bows out

Mark Hoover

Melbourne, January 24: Indian challenge at the men's doubles event of the Australian Open came to an end as Divij Sharan and his New Zealand partner Artem Sitak went down in straight sets to Bruno Soares and Mate Pavic in Melbourne on Friday (January 24).

Sharan and Sitak lost to the Brazilian-Croat pair 6-7 3-6 in a second round match that lasted one hour and 17 minutes.

Sharan's loss follows Rohan Bopanna's first-round exit on Wednesday (January 22).

On Thursday (January 23), comeback star Sania Mirza's first Grand Slam outing after maternity leave also ended with an early exit as the Indian ace retired mid-way into her women's doubles first-round match due to a calf injury.

She had also pulled out from the mixed doubles event to protect her calf from a strain.

Sania Mirza exits Australian Open with calf injury

With the exit of Mirza and Sharan now, Bopanna and Leander Paes are the only Indians left in the fray now.

The 39-year-old Bopanna will partner Ukraine's Nadiia Kichenok in the mixed doubles event. The duo will take on France's Nicolas Mahut and Zhang Shai of China in the first round on Saturday (January 25).

Meanwhile, Paes willpair up with 2017 French Open women's singles champion Jelena Ostapenko. The Indo-Latvian duo will take on local wild card entrants Storm Sanders and Marc Polmans in the first round.

However, a tougher challenge awaits Paes and Ostapenko in the second round as they are likely to meet the first seeds, Marcelo Melo of Brazil and Barbora Strycova of Czech Republic.

(With PTI inputs)

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