Watson & Konta, Rae & Smith win British doubles round up

By Glenys Furness

  • Heather Watson & Johanna Konta defeat sixteenth seeds.
  • Jocelyn Rae & Anna Smith also into round two
  • Unlucky day for the British men

Melbourne, Australia. Day three of the Australian Open saw the doubles event start. Heather Watson & Johanna Konta secured a second round berth taking out the sixteenth seeds in straight sets. Jocelyn Rae & Anna Smith also secured a second round spot. Colin Fleming & Aljaz Bedene both lost their matches.

Watson & Konta had teamed up together to compete in the ladies doubles. With Konta fresh from her defeat of the eighth seed the day before, the British #1 was back on court. Taking on the 16th seeds Gabriela Dabrowski & Alicja Rosolska the Brits were full of confidence and soon had control of the first set. With only one break of serve against them Watson & Konta sealed the set with a breadstick.

The second set was much closer with the Brits securing two breaks of serve, the seeds also managed to break serve twice as the set went to the tiebreak. The breaker was just as close with the Brits edging ahead to take it 9-7 and progress to the next round. During the entire match only one Ace was hit, and that was not by Watson & Konta. The Brits also had no double faults during the whole match.

Rae & Smith a regular British doubles team had drawn another unseeded pairing of Chen Liang & Shuai Peng. The Chinese pairing played better than the Brits in the first set, with Liang & Peng securing the only break. Both pairs had their chances but it was the Chinese who took the first set 6-3.

Rae & Smith seemed to settle better in the second set, as they prevented Liang & Peng from even obtaining break point chances. The Brits secured the two they needed to level the match with 6-2. The final set saw both pairs swap service breaks at three each to force a tiebreak. This saw Rae & Smith take control of the breaker, and they ran away with it 7-2 to make the second round.

The downside of this is that both British teams now face each other in the next round, so only one can progress further.

The men who played today were not as lucky, Bedene had teamed up with Dustin Brown and they had drawn the second seeds Ivan Dodig & Marcelo Melo. In what was always going to be a tricky match Bedene & Brown were outclassed in the first set as the seeds broke twice to seal it 6-3.

The second set was a little closer with the seeds hitting 13 winners to the 12 by Bedene & Brown. However, the difference turned out to be the one break of serve that seeds secured to claim the first round victory in straight sets 6-3, 6-4.

In the final doubles match to involve a Brit, Fleming & Johnathan Erlich found themselves against Robin Haase & Fernando Verdasco. Fleming & Erlich broke the serve of Haase & Verdasco in the first set, but were broken twice as the set went against them 6-4.

In the second set the Brit/Israeli team were playing better as they forced break points, securing one and saving three. Fleming & Erlich levelled the match taking the set 6-3, the match was going into a third and final set. In the Australian Open all the doubles are played best of three sets, this set proved to be close with only one break of serve to win, unfortunately that break went to Haase & Verdasco taking it 6-3.

Play continues in Melbourne from midnight GMT Thursday 21st January

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