Paes-Stepanek in Aus Open quarters, Hesh-Bopanna ousted

Melbourne: Leander Paes inched closer to his first-ever Australian Open title by making it to the doubles quarter-finals along with Radek Stepanek but it was all over for his compatriots Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna.

The unseeded Indo-Czech pair of Paes and Stepanek shocked third seeds Michael Llodra of France and Serbian Nenad Zimonjic 7-5, 7-6(2) in a hard-fought third round match.

Paes and Stepanek converted both the break chances in the opening set, while saved three on their own serve, which proved crucial in their tight one hour 39 minutes match.

The second set went with serve before Paes and Stepanek held their nerves to clinch the thrilling tie-breaker.

They now await winner of the other third round match between the pairs of Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and Jean-Julien Rojer and Eric Butorac and Bruno Soares.

Paes had won all the other three Grand Slam titles and Australian Open is only trophy eluding him in men`s doubles.

In another men`s doubles third round match, fourth seeded Bhupathi and Bopanna were stunned 6-7(6), 2-6 by 13th seeded American pair of Scott Lipsky and Rajeev Ram.

Meanwhile, India`s challenge ended in the junior singles competitions, with the defeats of Rutuja Bhonsle, Ratnika Batra and Arjun Khade.

Bhonsle frittered away a one-set advantage to lose 6-3, 4-6, 2-6 to Croatia`s Iva Mekovec in the girls` singles first round, while Batra surrendered tamely 1-6, 2-6 to American Taylor Townsend.

In the boys singles, Khade fought hard before losing 4-6, 6-7(4) to French Quentin Halys.