Fifth seeds Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini were upset on Saturday by Adrian Mannarino and Lucas Pouille in straight sets. Mannarino-Pouille edged the defending men's doubles champions 7-6 (5), 6-4.
Defending Men's Champs Done
Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini became the first Italians to win a Grand Slam men's doubles title since 1959, when they won at last year's Australian Open. Two rounds into defending the title, they are headed home. Bolelli-Fognini lacked intensity for the majority of the match as their French counterparts, Adrian Mannarino and Lucas Pouille, matched them blow for blow. In the opening set, both teams were dominant on serve. Only the Italians faced a break point and were able to save it. In the tiebreak, Bolelli-Fognini struggled on serve as they lost three of their six points with the unseeded Frenchman winning the final four points of the breaker to secure the 7-5 tiebreak win. For the set, Mannarino-Pouille won 78 percent of their service points to 67 percent for the Italians.
The second set started with both teams having chances to break. In the opening game, the Italians would fend off one break point to hold serve, which the Frenchmen matched in game two. Bolelli-Fognini would not be as fortunate in game three as they set up the French pair with two more break opportunities. This time, they cashed in for a 3-1 lead. A tense 10th game that saw four deuces and one break point off Mannarino-Pouille would be the last gasp for the 5th seeds. They were snuffed out as the Frenchmen closed out the set at 6-4. The unforced error count ended at 23 for Bolelli-Fognini, while Mannarino-Pouille had 15. The key to the match was the Frenchmen save both of their break point chances, while the Italians were broken once and served loosely in the opening set tiebreak.
Hewitt-Groth Delight Late Night Crowd
While much was made of Lleyton Hewitt's singles career ending earlier this week, he is still alive and well in the men's doubles draw. Hewitt teamed up with fellow Aussie Sam Groth to shock 8th seeds John Peers and Henri Kontinen at Hisense Arena 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. Groth's serve was integral in fueling the comeback as he threw down three aces to close the second set and even the match. The Aussies would break early in the third with Groth again providing the winning service game to finish off the three set win. Groth said in the courtside interview following the match that he is enjoying every moment playing alongside the Australian legend, "I'm so lucky. I feel a responsibility to keep his career going."
Top Seeds Survive Day of Upsets
While the defending champions were booted from the tournament, this year's top seeded duo was able to lock up a spot in the third round. Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau survived a stern test from Dominic Thiem and Benjamin Becker 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. In a post-match interview for ATPWorldTour.com, Tecau said it was difficult facing two hard hitters, "The third set was pretty intense, with break points back and forth. We managed to break Becker for a 3-1 lead and in the final game, on my serve, it was tough as there were four deuces. They were a tough team in difficult conditions."
Elsewhere, 6th seeds Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert were taken down by Spaniard Pablo Andujar and Pablo Carreno Busta. Andujar-Carreno Busta won in three sets 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-1 as the French duo failed to convert on numerous break opportunities. The Spaniards saved eight of ten break chances, while converted five of seven against the 6th seeds. Another seeded upset saw 10th seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcin Matkowski eliminated by Daniel Nestor and Radek Stepanek 7-6 (4), 6-1. Seeds who did survive Saturday include (7) Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, (11) Dominic Inglot and Robert Lindstedt, (12) Jean-Sebastien Cabal and Robert Farah and (16) Marcel Granollers and Pablo Cuevas.
Hingis-Mirza Rack Up 32nd Straight Win
Top seeds Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza were rarely bothered by the Kichenok sisters in their second round match in Melbourne. The top seeds tallied their 32nd straight win 6-2, 6-3. Hingis-Mirza pounded the second serves of the Ukrainian duo, winning 17 of 23 points. Hingis and Mirza will get veterans Svetlana Kuznetsova and Roberta Vinci in the third round. Kuznetsova-Vinci whipped Australians Jessica Moore and Storm Sanders 6-0, 6-3.
Second seeds Hao-Ching and Yung-Jan Chan were also easy winners in round two. The Chans beat Kateryna Bondarenko and Olga Savchuk 6-3, 6-3. Third seeds Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic crushed Maria Sanchez and Stephanie Vogt 6-2, 6-1. The highest seed to lose on Saturday were Americans Raquel Atawo and Abilgail Spears. The 6th seeds fell apart after winning the opening set against Mirjana Lucic-Baroni and Barbora Strycova. Lucic-Baroni and Strycova would dominate the final two sets for a 6-7 (4), 6-1, 6-2 win.
WTA Second Round Results
(5) Vesnina-Pavlyuchenkova def. Bonaventure-Olaru 6-2, 6-1
(7) Hradecka-Hlavackova def. Gasparyan-Panova 7-5, 6-1
(12) Groenefeld-Vandeweghe def. Bencic-Rybarikova (Walkover)
(13) Goerges-Pliskova def. Krejcikova-Wang 7-5, 6-3
(15) Xu-Zheng def. Kasatkina-Kovinic 6-3, 6-2
King-Kudryavtseva def. (11) Stosur-Shvedova 6-1, 6-4
Rae-Smith def. Konta-Watson 6-2, 6-3