Leander Paes and Purav Raja exited the first Grand Slam of the year in Australian Open on Sunday after going down in the pre-quarters. The Indian pairing were easily swept aside by the 11th seeded Colombian pairing Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 6-1, 6-2 in the third round at Melbourne Park. The contest lasted an hour and nine minutes in which Cabal and Farah remained resoundingly ahead owing to their attacking play.
The opportunity that veteran Paes and Raja created by way of break points – five of them – were squandered completely. In sharp contrast, the Cabal and Farah combination converted four of ten break point opportunities. They broke Paes and Raja twice in each set to storm into the quarterfinals.
Playing their second Grand Slam together, Paes and Raja had caused quite a stir with their upset of 2016 Australian Open champions Bruno Soares and Jamie Murray in the previous round. At the same time, the Indian pairing produced quite a few scintillating moments and made their contribution for the highlight reels. At the US Open last year, they were sent packing in the second round.
With the exit, Paes’ personal duck of not making the quarters of a Grand Slam continued and stretched beyond a year. The last time the 44-year-old Paes had reached the last-8 of a Grand Slam was back in 2016 at the French Open where he partnered Marcin Matkowski.
Other Indians left in the fray in the men’s doubles draw are Divij Sharan, partnering Rajeev Ram, and Rohan Bopanna, partnering Edouard Roger-Vasselin. Sharan and Ram take on top seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo while Bopanna and Roger-Vasselin face Oliver Marach/Mate Pavic.