1.56 PM Friday, 8 December 2023
  • City Fajr Shuruq Duhr Asr Magrib Isha
  • Dubai 05:29 06:48 12:14 15:11 17:33 18:52
08 December 2023

New Indian pair make winning start

India's Rohan Bopanna plays a forehand in his first round doubles match partnering Mahesh Bhupathi against Chris Guccione and Matthew Ebden of Australia on day three of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Wednesday in Australia. (GETTY)


New Indian doubles pair Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna said bid for Olympic glory was taking shape after they won through to the second round at the Australian Open on Wednesday.

Bopanna split from doubles partner Aisam-ul Haq Qureshi of Pakistan so he could pursue his Olympic dream, and said he was happy with how the new pairing was working out after a win over Australia's Matthew Ebden and Chris Guccione.

"We had a good start for the season in Chennai, reaching the semi-finals. That was a good three matches before coming here for our first grand slam," Bopanna said.

"Obviously winning our first match today, it was a close one, a tight one but coming through these hard matches always helps us in longer matches and building our partnership stronger."

When asked about the Olympics, he said the focus remained on the Australian Open and the other grand slams before London 2012.

"Right we're here in Australia. Our focus is to do well at this Slam and then take it further, all the way towards the Olympics," he said after the 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 win.

The pair are looking to bring a smile to Indian sports fans with their cricket team trailing 3-0 in the ongoing Test series against Australia but Bopanna said he was confident the cricketers could salvage some pride.

"You win some, you lose some. It's always hard playing Australia here at home and they've been lethal in the bowling. Hopefully they can still stay strong and hopefully win that last Test."

Dubbed the 'Indo-Pak express', Bopanna and Qureshi, also playing in Melbourne, actively promoted India-Pakistan rapprochement and even offered to play tennis over the border. They announced their split in November.

Qureshi also won 6-3, 7-6 (13/11) alongside new partner Jean-Julien Rojer of Dutch Antilles.