Sydney, Jan 11 (IANS) Indian tennis veteran Leander Paes’ preparation for the year’s first Major, Australian Open, did not get off to a good start as the 42-year-old lost in the opening round of men’s doubles at the $404,780 Sydney International here on Monday. Paes, partnering French Jeremy Chardy, lost 4-6, 4-6 in an hour and eight minutes to Brazilian-Canadian third seeds Marcelo Melo and Daniel Nestor on Court No.3 of the NSW Tennis Centre. 

Paes is the defending champion at Australian Open, which starts next week, in the mixed doubles category with Swiss Martina Hingis. Melo and Nestor broke the unseeded pair once each in the two sets to easily win and enter the quarterfinals. 

The Indo-French pair got as many as eight break point chances, same as their opponents, but failure to convert even a single one cost them the contest. Paes’ compatriots Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna will play their respective matches on Tuesday.

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    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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