Bhupathi-Bopanna toil; Paes-Stepanek cruise into second round

Melbourne, Jan 18 (IANS) India’s Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna came from a set down to win 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 against Australian pair of Mathew Edben and Chris Guccione in the first round of the men’s doubles in the Australian Open here Wednesday.

Another Indian, Leander Paes had an easy first-round clash. Paes and his Czech partner Radek Stepanek dispatched Aussie pair of Greg Jones and John-Patrick Smith 6-2, 6-2 in an hour and 13 minutes.
Bhupathi and Bopanna, who have paired up for a Grand Slam for the first time, made a slow start. They committed 10 unforced errors compared to eight by Edben and Guccione.
Egged on by a home crowd, the Australian pair took a surprise lead against the fourth seeded Indian pair. But Bhupathi and Bopanna came back strongly in the next two sets, hitting 44 winners to advance to the second round.
The Indo-Czech pair of Paes and Stepanek had an easy outing, winning the match in an hour and 13 minutes. The duo converted five of the nine break points on offer as they romped home in straight sets. Paes and Stepanek will play 14th seeded Italians Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini in the second round.