Tennis: Huey, Indonesian partner impress in Australian Open doubles opener

Rosy Mina

Posted at Jan 19 2022 02:02 PM | Updated as of Jan 19 2022 02:18 PM

Treat Huey of the Philippines and Christopher Rungkat of Indonesia. Photo courtesy of Christopher Rungkat on Instagram.
Treat Huey of the Philippines and Christopher Rungkat of Indonesia. Photo courtesy of Christopher Rungkat on Instagram.

Wildcards Treat Huey of the Philippines and Christopher Rungkat of Indonesia progressed to the second round of the Australian Open men’s doubles tournament with a smashing 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-2 win over Rohan Bopanna of India and Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France, Wednesday in Melbourne. 

It took Huey and Rungkat an hour and 48 minutes to overcome Bopanna and Roger-Vasselin at Court 5 in Melbourne Park, Victoria. 

In the second round, they will face 16th seeds Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan and Franko Škugor of Croatia or wildcards Dane Sweeny and Li Tu of Australia. 

Bopanna, the 2017 Monte Carlo Masters doubles winner, and Roger-Vasselin, the 2014 Roland Garros men’s doubles champion, secured the first break of the match for a 3-1 lead. 

A backhand down the line from 2018 Asian Games mixed doubles gold medallist Rungkat brought the next game to deuce, which Bopanna and Roger-Vasselin clinched to extend their lead to 4-1.

An ace from Southeast Asian Games triple gold medallist Huey finished off a love service game that made him and Rungkat trail at 4-2. Both tandems continued to hold serve until the Indian and French claimed the first set, 6-3, courtesy of a netted forehand from Rungkat.

The Filipino and Indonesian avoided getting broken in the second set, saving two break points in the 11th game to lead at 6-5. The Indian and French forced a tiebreak, where a Bopanna netted return awarded Huey and Rungkat a crucial mini break to lead at 4-2.

A return winner from Huey scored another mini break to extend their lead at 5-2. Huey and Rungkat then held serve to clinch the second set, 7-6(2).

In the deciding set, Huey and Rungkat saved a break point in the second game to level at 1-1. They notched a break in the third game with a forehand winner to have a 2-1 advantage.

They pulled away with a 3-1 lead after saving a break point, and advanced further to 4-1 after converting their 5th break point opportunity with a forehand winner. An ace from Huey sealed the sixth game, 5-1.

Bopanna and Roger-Vasselin bounced back in the next game to trail at 5-2 but Huey and Rungkat held their ground, firing a forehand winner to earn two match points and concluding the set with a backhand winner to claim the match, 6-2. 

Huey, the ATP Doubles No. 137 with a career high of No. 18 in 2016, said of his grand slam doubles wildcard on Instagram, "Thank you, Australian Open, for the opportunity." He was a Wimbledon men’s doubles semifinalist with Max Mirnyi of Belarus in 2016. 

Prior to the Australian Open, the Filipino-American participated in two Australian Summer Set tournaments with Frederik Nielsen of Denmark, reaching the Round of 16 in Adelaide 1 and Adelaide 2. 

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