Estranged partners Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi kicked off their campaign in style with straight set wins to reach the second round of the 436,000 dollar Sydney International in Sydney on Tuesday.
Fourth seeded Paes and his Czech teammate Martin Damm downed Lukas Dlouhy and Paul Vizner of Czech Republic 7-6 (2), 6-2, while Bhupathi and his French comrade-in-arms Fabrice Santoro got the better of the Israeli duo of Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram 6-4, 6-3.
Paes and Damm took time to settle into their rhytghm and though their rivals managed to stretch the first set to tie-breaker, the Indo-Czech duo raised their game when it mattered and had no problem in staving off the challenge from their Czech rivals.
Bhupathi and Santoro, on the other hand, did not play perfect tennis and the lack of coordination was occasionally visible. Despite that, they proved far more superior than Erlich and Ram and had little problem in chalking out a facile, straight set win.
In the second round, the Paes-Damm pair will cross swords with Ashley Fisher (Australia) and Tripp Phillips (USA), while the Bhupathi-Santoro duo locks horn with third seeds Paul Hanley of Australia and the latter's Zimbabwean companion Kevin Ullyett.