Leander Paes and Purav Raja cruise through to Australian Open second round


(Online Desk)

Indian tennis ace Leander Paes and Purav Raja cruised into the second round after registering a comfortable 6-2, 6-3 victory over Nikoloz Basilashvili and Andreas Haider-Maurer in the opening round of Australian Open.

The Indian pair won their first set in just 28 minutes. The second set was evenly poised before the experienced Indians broke their opponents serve at 4-3. Leander Paes and Purav Raja converted all their three break points and won 27 of their 30 first serve points.

They will next face the number five seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares in the second round.

In a recent interview to a national daily, Leander Paes had said,” I think it’s going to be a very interesting year. At the back end of last season, we (Purav Raja, his new partner, and him) went two weeks unbeaten. We did that after three months of hard work. Now, we have to catch our rhythm and carry on. Goals wise, I would say to get into the top 30 as individuals. To get a direct entry into the 500s and Masters you have to be in that bracket. It’s also because doubles has changed. Many of the top 20-30 singles players have started playing doubles. The no-ad scoring has helped and the super-breaker to decide the third set has also shortened matches.”

 When asked his reason behind teaming up with Purav Raja, the former world number one said, “For a couple of years, he had asked to play with me. We had played together in a Davis Cup tie against South Korea in Delhi and we did well. He has been my sparring partner in Mumbai for a few years. We had gone back and forth (dialogue about playing with each other) for a few years. It’s natural because he’s an ad court player and I am a deuce court player. We are both Indians and we practice together in the off-season.”