India endured a second successive disappointing result at the Australian Open with Rohan Bopanna and Ben McLachlan bowing out after a opening-round defeat to Ji Sung Nam and Min-Kyu Song in men’s doubles on Wednesday.
Bopanna and his Japanese partner lost 4-6, 6-7(0) to the Korean wild card pair in one hour and 17 minutes.
Not having enough court time due to hard quarantine seemed to have an effect on Bopanna’s sharpness. McLachlan, on his part, struggled to negotiate volleys and that hurt them. It was expected to be an easy match for the Indo-Japanese pair but the good chemistry of the lower-ranked Koreans, who played to their strength, made it tough for them.
Bopanna lost his serve in the opening set and that initial break stayed with the Korean players as their opponents struggled with returns as Song and Nam easily smashed volley winners to stay ahead.
Failing to put away a volley in the tie-breaker, McLachlan banged his racquet on the court out of frustration, narrowly escaping injury as his racquet bounced off the court to hit him on the head. A forehand error from the Japanese ended their campaign when Nam served for the match.
Earlier, Bopanna had spent 14 days in his room and came out only on January 30 and lost in the opening round of the warm-up event with Frederik Nielsen.
India now have Divij Sharan (men’s doubles) and debutant Ankita Raina (women’s doubles) left in fray. On Tuesday, Sumit Nagal exited in the first round, ending India’s singles challenge at the season-opening Grand Slam
With PTI Inputs