Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza entered the second round of the mixed doubles at the Australian Open after a hard-fought 6-2, 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Kveta Pleschke and Pavel Vizner of Czech Republic in Melbourne on Friday.
After racing away with the first set in 27 minutes, Bhupathi and Sania got complacent early in the second, which saw the Czech pair firing on all cylinders. They were broken in the second and fourth games as Pleschke and Vizner established a 4-0 lead.
But just when the set looked slipping away, the unseeded Indian duo struck up a good rhythm and took three straight games, breaking back in the fifth, then holding serve and breaking again in the seventh to reduce the deficit to 3-4.
Sania, who bowed out of the reckoning in the women's singles and doubles earlier, then held serve in the eighth game to get the Indian challenge back on track.
In a close ninth game Vizner was broken and then Bhupathi served out the set, which lasted 40 minutes, to seal a berth in the second round, where they will meet local favourites Anastasia Rodionova and Stephen Huss, who defeated compatriots Jessica Moore and Carsten Ball 7-5, 7-5.
Earlier in the day Indian Davis Cupper Rohan Bopanna and his Finnish partner Jarko Nieminin advanced to the second round of the men's doubles round defeating the Spanish pair of Marcel Granollers and Sanitago Ventura 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 in an hour and 13 minutes.
The Indo-Finnish pair will next face Nicolas Lapentti of Ecuador and Tommy Robredo of Spain.