Divij Sharan bows out of Australian Open in second round

A straight-sets defeat in the second round of the men's doubles competition saw Divij Sharan and Artem Sitak's run come to a halt.

By Sandeep Banerjee ·

Divij Sharan’s Australian Open hopes were dashed after he suffered a straight-sets defeat in the second round of the men’s doubles competition with partner Artem Sitak from New Zealand on Friday.

The duo lost 7-6 (7-2), 6-3 to the Brazilian-Croatian pairing of Bruno Soares and Mate Pavic over the course of their match lasting an hour and 18 minutes.

No lucky breaks in sight

The opening set saw both sides holding their serve in the first 12 games before going into a tie-breaker.

Divij Sharan and Artem Sitak were broken in their opening serve of the tie-breaker, setting the ball rolling in their opponents’ favour. While the duo managed to return the favour just once after that, they were broken thrice more before Bruno Soares and Mate Pavic converted their very first set point to clinch the tie-breaker 7-2.

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In the second set, both sides held serve in the first three games before Divij Sharan and Artem Sitak were broken in the fourth and trailed 1-3, a crucial deficit which they never managed to recover from during the remainder of the match.

Bruno Soares and Mate Pavic won all their remaining games to carve out a three-game lead that eventually saw them win the second set 6-3 and wrap up the match.

Indian contingent whittling down

The loss adds to the list of disappointments the Indian contingent had experienced on Thursday.

Rohan Bopanna saw his men's doubles campaign come to an end after he and Japanese teammate Yasutaka Uchiyama lost 1-6, 6-3, 3-6 to the Bryan brothers from the USA — Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan.

Meanwhile, Sania Mirza and her Ukrainian partner Nadiia Kichenok were forced to pull out of their women's doubles match after Mirza's calf injury flared up whilst trailing 0-1 in the second set. The duo were already on the backfoot after losing the opening set 2-6.

What next for India at the Australian Open?

Indian hopes have not dried up completely, as Rohan Bopanna, who was forced to pair up with Nadiia Kichenok in the mixed doubles after Sania Mirza's pullout, will face off against the French-Chinese duo of Nicolas Mahut and Zhang Shuai on Saturday.

Then on Sunday, Indian veteran Leander Paes will be returning to action. After being given a mixed-doubles wild card, the 1996 Olympics bronze-medallist will be teaming up with 2017 French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko to face off against local wild card entrants Storm Sanders and Marc Polmans.