Retiring Indian great Leander Paes made winning start at the Australian Open with partner Jelena Ostapenko while Rohan Bopanna and Nadiia Kichenok progressed to the mixed doubles quarter-finals in Melbourne on Sunday.
Wildcards Paes and Ostapenko erased a one-set deficit to edge out fellow wildcards entrants, Australia’s Storm Sanders and Marc Polmans, 6-7(4), 6-3, 10-6 in the opening round which lasted one hour and 27 minutes.
Bopanna and his Ukrainian partner Nadiia Kichenok, who joined forces at the last minute after Sania Mirza was forced to pull out with an injury, defeated the team of Nicole Melichar and Bruno Soares 6-4, 7-6(4) in their second round.
Paes is competing in his last Australian Open, having announced that 2020 is his final year on the Pro circuit. He and Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion, seemed to enjoy themselves on court and made a solid pair, even when a set down.
Their next challenge is set to be much tougher as they will next face American Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Briton Jamie Murray, who knocked out top seeds Marcelo Melo and Barbora Strycova 3-6 6-4 10-7 in their opening round.