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Defending champs Paes-Stepanek suffer first round exit

Last updated on: January 17, 2013 15:54 IST

Defending champions Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek were knocked out of the Australian Open after going down in straight sets in their opening round men's doubles match in Melbourne, on Thursday.

The second-seeded Indo-Czech pair lost 3-6, 5-7 to South Africa's Kevin Anderson and Israel's Jonathan Erlich in 89 minutes.

The South African-Israeli combo not only relied on serve to outplay Paes-Stepanek, but also managed to convert four out of seven break-points they got.

In contrast, the Indo-Czech duo was just not up to the mark, either while returning serve or converting break-points.

After losing the opening set miserably, Paes-Stepanek though put up a better show in the second, but failed to sustain and eventually lost both the set and match.

However, the Australian Open campaign is not yet over for Paes; he is playing the mixed doubles with Russian partner Elena Vesnina.

They will face Pakistan's Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden in the first round.

On Wednesday, Rohan Bopanna and Mahesh Bhuapthi advanced to the second round with their respective partners. Bopanna and Rajeev Ram defeated the Australian pair of Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios. The 12th seeds won 6-2, 6-4.

Fifth seeds Bhupathi and Canadian Daniel Nestor had things as easy while scoring a 6-2, 6-4 victory over the Spanish pair of Pablo Andujar and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in their first round match.

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