By Ros Satar, in Melbourne

  • Dominic Inglot/Florin Mergea [16] def. Luke Saville/Jordan Thompson 6-2 7-5
  • Sania Mirza/Barbora Strycova [4] def. Jocelyn Rae/Anna Smith 63 61
  • Karin Knapp/Mandy Minella def. Naomi Broady/Heather Watson 75 26 76(5)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Dominic Inglot with partner Florin Mergea got the British doubles off to a winning start, but both British pairings on the women’s side were out.

 

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Dominic Inglot/Florin Mergea [16] def. Luke Saville/Jordan Thompson 6-2 7-5

 

The No. 16 seeds Dominic Inglot & Florin Mergea drew the home-hopes Luke Saville & Jordan Thompson, with the latter coming off a win in Melbourne.

Thompson had partnered up with Thanasi Kokkinakis as wildcards and stunned the No. 1 seeds Pierre Hugues Herbert & Nicolas Mahut on their way to the title, but his switch of partners to Matt Reid, and then to Saville was perhaps too much to adjust to as the more established pairing took the rookies to task in the opening set.

Two swift breaks in succession was enough to give the 16th seeds the comfort and advantage they needed to wrap up the first set tidily, They started the second set strongly with an early break but the home favourites fought back with a break to level 3-3, hanging in with the seeds until they broke for the border with a late break, finally sealing the set on their third match point.

 

Sania Mirza/Barbora Strycova [4] def. Jocelyn Rae/Anna Smith 63 61

Britain’s established pairing of Jocelyn Rae & Anna Smith drew a short straw, playing against veritable Doubles royalty in Sania Mirza, now partnering with Barbora Strycova and seeded fourth.

The Brits put up a good display to start even bringing up a break point in the opening game, but all it took was a single break mid-set from the No. 4 seeds to go ahead. They did have to work for the first set, as Rae & Smith saved four set points before bringing up a break point of their own, before succumbing on the fifth.

That first set loss seemed to do for the Brits who were broken straight away at the start of the second set, They did break straight back, but that was the limit of their resistance, as the fourth seeds ploughed through the rest of the match, denying the Brits a game.

 

Karin Knapp/Mandy Minella def. Naomi Broady/Heather Watson 75 26 76(5)

While Rae and Smith have been our established doubles specialist for a while now, Naomi Broady & Heather Watson have been a decent pairing themselves, and they almost booked a spot in the second round with a strong fight-back in their first round match against Karin Knapp & Mandy Minella.

Having levelled the match after being edged in the first set, they actually took first blood in the decider before being broken towards the end of the set for 5-5. They kept pace but struggled in the early part of the tie-break to hold on to their serves, and although they saved three match points, it was a tight finish to a close match.

Defending champions Jamie Murray & Bruno Soares, and Ken & Neal Skupski start their campaigns on Thursday.

 

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