The Indo-Kiwi pair of Divij Sharan and Artem Sitak fought valiantly against the 10th seeds Mate Pavic & Bruno Soares, before losing 6-7(2) 3-6. Divij spoke to ITD member and Melbourne resident Piyush Bajaj after the match at Melbourne Park. Excerpts below –

Divij and Artem entering Court 3

Q) It was a very close match. It was a great match overall, and you fought very hard but the result went in their favor.

Yeah, it was a very close match. I think all of us played really well, particularly our opponents. I think they served really well. I have played a lot against them in the past. First set was very close. The match went to a tiebreak and then second set, there was a difference of one game, and we got broken. So it’s a little disappointing to have lost, but a lot of positives to take from the match. I think both of us played some good tennis and we should look to be positive, looking ahead from here.

Divij hits a backhand volley

Q) You had a couple of chances where we were 30 all trying to break them but couldn’t, do you think they were marginally better today?

Yeah, these situations are there in every match. They served pretty well today. Usually, I fancy myself when I’m returning. Return of serve is one of my key strengths. With the way they served, I wasn’t really able to make that breakthrough in any of their games. I did hit some good returns occasionally, but most of the match they served well. 

Divij serving in front of a packed 2000-capacity Court 3 crowd

Q) They had hit 11 aces vs 1 ace. Do you think that was the turning point of the match?

That’s a good way to put it. 11 aces is a pretty good feat. But even though we didn’t get the aces, we served the spots well and the volley was able to follow up after the serve. Even we served pretty well. In the tiebreak, they played better and one game we got broken. They never really let us get in the match. But we fought till the end. I think a lot of positives again to take from the match. We did play well. It’s not like we had a bad match and we’d be looking positively on the progress that we’ve made so far. 

Divij and Sitak move to Pune from here on

Q) What next from here on?

I’m gonna go play in Pune. I have a few days off break and then get there early and start preparing for Pune.

Divij hitting a backhand

Q)  Anything to be changed in the next couple of matches based on your performance today. 

As I said, we played a good match against a pretty good team. There are 10th seeds here. They’ve done well in the past. They’ve won Grand Slams. We’ll just be looking at getting stronger. It’s been a good match. I’m pretty sure we’d only go into the next set of matches being more confident about how we’re playing.

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