File photo of Rohan Bopanna.
India endured a second successive disappointing result at the Australian Open with Rohan Bopanna and Ben McLachlan bowing out after a close opening-round defeat to Ji Sung Nam and Min-Kyu Song in the men’s doubles event, here on Wednesday.
Bopanna and his Japanese partner lost 4-6 6-7(0) to the Korean wild card pair in one hour and 17 minutes.
Not having enough court time due to hard quarantine seemed to have an effect on Bopanna’s sharpness.
McLachlan, on his part, struggled to negotiate volleys and that hurt them.
Bopanna had spent 14 days in his room and came out only on January 30, jumping into the tune-up event, only to lose his opening round with Frederik Nielsen.
The Indian did not get enough competition time to be ready for the season’s first major.
Bopanna lost his serve in the opening set and that initial break stayed with the Korean players, who executed their plan with precision to take the first set.
It was expected to be an easy match for the Indo-Japanese pair but the good chemistry of the lower-ranked Koreans, who played to their strength, made it tough for them.
Bopanna and McLachlan struggled with returns as Song and Nam easily smashed volley winners to stay ahead.
Failing to put away a volley in the tie-breaker, McLachlan banged his racquet on the court out of frustration, narrowly escaping injury as his racquet bounced off the court to hit him on the head.
A forehand error from the Japanese ended their campaign when Nam served for the match.
India now have Divij Sharan (men’s doubles) and debutant Ankita Raina (women’s doubles) left in fray.