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Australian Open: Sania Mirza starts final Grand Slam with win

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Sania Mirza started the final Grand Slam of her career on a winning note, advancing to the second round in women’s doubles at the Australian Open on Thursday.

However, it was curtains for other Indians in action – Ramnathan Ramkumar, Yuki Bhambri and Saketh Myneni – in the first round of men’s doubles.

Sania and her Kazakh partner Anna Danilina beat Hungary’s Dalma Galfi and American Bernarda Pera 6-2, 7-5 in one hour and 15 minutes. Wrapping up the first set in less than 25 minutes, the pair led 4-1 in the second when Galfi and Pera won four games on the trot to make it 5-5.

However, the eighth seeds duo managed to break Pera’s serve and then Danilina held on to hers to seal the issue and set up a second round clash against Alison Van Uytvanck and Anhelina Kalinina.

Sania, a six-time Major champion (three in doubles and three in mixed doubles), has announced that the Australian Open is her last Major and she would be retiring after WTA 1000 Dubai Tennis Championships in February.

She had announced that 2022 will be her final season at last year’s Australian Open but a severe elbow injury before the US Open meant she had to end her season early and push back her retirement plans.

In men’s doubles, wildcard entrants Bhambri and Myneni went down 6-7, 7-6 6-3 to the Australian-German pair of Andreas Mies and John Peers in two hours and 45 minute.

Playing their first Grand Slam as a pair, Bhambri and Myneni saved two match points in the second set to force a decider. They then went on to take a 3-1 lead but too many unforced errors spelt the end of their campaign.

Ramkumar and his Mexican partner Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela squandered their first set lead to go down 6-3, 5-7, 3-6 to the Tsitsipas brothers — Stefanos and Petros.