MELBOURNE: Reeling from successive first-round losses alongside Jonathan Marray in the Australian Open warm-up events in Brisbane and Auckland, Aisam-ul-Haq will hope for a change of fortunes on Thursday.
But a stern test lies in wait for Pakistan’s tennis ace and Briton Marray in the first round of the first Grand Slam of the year.
The duo open their campaign against the seventh-seeded pairing of Britain’s Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares of Brazil, who won the men’s doubles title at the Sydney International another Australian Open warm-up event at the weekend.
Aisam was optimistic that at the start of the year when he paired up with Marray, saying they “can win a number of titles together”.
However, opening round defeats at the Brisbane International and the ASB Classic would’ve tempered that belief.
The duo lost 3-6, 4-6 to third seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcin Matkowski in the first week of this month in Brisbane and followed it up with a 4-6, 6-3, 11-13 loss to Auckland fourth seeds Eric Butorac and Scott Lipsky last week.
Marray, a Wimbledon doubles champion in 2012, and Aisam paired up last year to win the doubles title at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport in July this year and will hope to recapture the same form against Murray and Soares.
Murray, the older brother of Andy Murray, helped Great Britain to the Davis Cup title last year and teamed up with Soares after ending his successful association with John Peers last year.
Prior to their Sydney International triumph, the duo reached the semi-finals at the Qatar Open in Doha.
If the first round wasn’t tricky for Aisam and Marray, they also have strong pairs of Dominic Inglot-Robert Lind¬stedt, Butorac-Lipsky, Rajeev Ram-Raven Klaasen, Steve Johnson-Sam Querrey and the third-seeded Bryan Brot¬hers in their half of the draw.
But after the losses in Brisbane and Auckland, they wouldn’t be looking too far ahead just yet.