Paes-Stepanek in third round, play Bhambri-Venus

Melbourne, Jan 18: India’s Leander Paes and his Czech partner Radek Stepanek Saturday entered the third round of the men’s doubles at the Australian Open, easily defeating Italian Daniele Bracciali and Ukranian Alexander Dolgopolov 6-1, 6-4.

The fifth-seeded Paes and Stepanek, who beat Paes’s former partner Lukas Dlouhy and Lukas Rosol of Czech Republic 6-4, 6-1, in the first round, had a clear superiority in serving, returning and hitting winners.

Yet, the Czechs forced seven break points but could not convert any whereas Paes and Stepanek clinched three of the six they had.

Paes and Stepanek won the first set easily but in the second they had to stretch themselves a bit before closing out the match in an hour and quarter.

Paes and Stepanek next play India’s Yuki Bhambri and his New Zealand partner Michael Venus, who had upset 10th seeded Jeasn-Julien Roger of the Netherlands and his Romanian partner Horia Tecau 6-4, 6-4, in the second round Friday.

IANS