Melbourne, Australia, 19 January 2024 | Leigh Rogers

Defending champions Rinky Hijikata and Jason Kubler have made a winning start to their men’s doubles campaign at Australian Open 2024.

The 16th seeds scored a comfortable 6-2 6-4 victory against fellow Australian Chris O’Connell and his Serbian partner Laslo Djere in opening-round action today at Melbourne Park.

The 22-year-old Hijikata and 30-year-old Kubler did not drop a service game in the 70-minute encounter.

This keeps their unbeaten record as a team intact at the tournament and extends their winning streak at Melbourne Park to seven matches.

“It was good to be back here playing,” Hijikata said.

“I think both of us had a tough one in singles, so just to be out there again was good fun. It was a good atmosphere. It was pretty packed out there.”

Another all-Aussie duo, Max Purcell and Jordan Thompson, have also advanced to the second round.

The 25-year-old Purcell and 29-year-old Thompson held off a late challenge from Austrian pair Alexander Erler and Lucas Miedler to record a 6-2 7-6(8) victory.

This sets up a second-round rematch with the seventh seeds, Hugo Nys of Monaco and Jan Zielinski from Poland.

These two teams faced off in the same stage at last year’s Australian Open, with Nys and Zielinksi winning a tight three-set battle and then going onto reach the final.

Hijikata believes that Purcell and Thompson could be title contenders this fortnight.

“I think they could be the third straight Aussie pair to win the tournament, if I’m honest,” he said.

“I got to play with Max in Tokyo, and I’ve seen Thommo play a ton. They’re both unbelievable doubles players. Both have really good serves. I think they’re going to be pretty tough to beat.

“Now that they’re both out of singles, they can probably focus on their dubs a bit more. I would say they’re a very good shot to go deep.”

World No.4 Matt Ebden and his Indian partner Rohan Bopanna secured their place in the third round. However, it came at the expense of Aussie wildcards John Millman and Edward Winter.

Ebden and Bopanna scored a 6-2 6-4 victory, which ended Millman’s professional playing career.

The 34-year-old was honoured on court after the match, with Tennis Australia Chief Executive Officer Craig Tiley making a special presentation to the Aussie favourite.

Aussies in action – Australian Open

Men’s doubles, first round
[16] Rinky Hijikata (AUS)/Jason Kubler (AUS) Chris O’Connell (AUS)/Laslo Djere (SRB) 6-2 6-4
Max Purcell (AUS)/Jordan Thompson (AUS) d Alexander Erler (AUT)/Lucas Miedler (AUT) 6-2 7-6(8)
John-Patrick Smith (AUS)/Andreas Mies (GER) d Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS)/Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 6-7(4) 6-4 6-4

Men’s doubles, second round
[2] Matt Ebden (AUS)/Rohan Bopanna (IND) d [WC] John Millman (AUS)/Edward Winter (AUS) 6-2 6-4
[6] Maximo Gonzalez (ARG)/Andreas Molteni (ARG) d Aleksandar Vukic (AUS)/Nuno Borges (POR) walkover
[14] Wesley Koolhof (NED)/Nikola Mektic (CRO) d John Peers (AUS)/Harri Heliovaara (FIN) 6-1 6-4

Women’s doubles, second round
[2] Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE)/Elise Mertens (BEL) d [WC] Daria Saville (AUS)/Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) 6-1 6-1
[11] Lyudmyla Kichenok (UKR)/Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) d [WC] Kimberly Birrell (AUS)/Olivia Gadecki (AUS) 3-6 7-6(8) 6-3
Ekaterina Alexandrova/Anna Kalinskaya d [WC] Taylah Preston (AUS)/Arina Rodionova (AUS) 6-2 6-3

Mixed doubles, first round
[WC] Jaimee Fourlis (AUS)/Andrew Harris (AUS) d Anna Danilina (KAZ)/Andres Molteni (ARG) 6-4 6-4
[5] Laura Siegemund (GER)/Sander Gille (BEL) d [WC] Arina Rodionova (AUS)/Max Purcell (AUS) 6-2 6-4
[6] Gabriela Dabrowski (CAN)/Nathaniel Lammons (USA) d [WC] Priscilla Hon (AUS)/Adam Walton (AUS) 6-3 6-2
[7] Nicole Melichar-Martinez (USA)/Kevin Krawietz (GER) d [WC] Maya Joint (AUS)/Dane Sweeny (AUS) 6-2 6-4

Men’s doubles, second round
[16] Rinky Hijikata (AUS)/Jason Kubler (AUS)
v Yannick Hanfmann (GER)/Dominik Koepfer (GER)
John-Patrick Smith (AUS)/Andreas Mies (GER) v [4] Marcel Granollers (ESP)/Horacio Zeballos (ARG)
Max Purcell (AUS)/Jordan Thompson (AUS)
v [7] Hugo Nys (MON)/Jan Zielinksi (POL)

Men’s doubles, third round
[2] Matt Ebden (AUS)/Rohan Bopanna (IND) v [14] Wesley Koolhof (NED)/Nikola Mektic (CRO)

> VIEW: Australian Open 2024 men’s doubles draw

Women’s doubles, second round
[3] Storm Hunter (AUS)/Katerina Siniakova (CZE) v [WC] Destanee Aiava (AUS)/Maddison Inglis (AUS)

> VIEW: Australian Open 2024 women’s doubles draw

Mixed doubles, first round
[1] Storm Hunter (AUS)/Matt Ebden (AUS) v Lyudmyla Kichenok (UKR)/Mate Pavic (CRO)
[8] Ellen Perez (AUS)/Jean-Julien Rojer (NED) v Ulrikke Eikeri (NOR)/Harri Heliovaara (FIN)
[WC] Kimberly Birrell (AUS)/John Peers (AUS) v [3] Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE)/Jan Zielinski (POL)
[WC] Olivia Gadecki (AUS)/Marc Polmans (AUS) v [4] Chan Hao-Ching (TPE)/Santiago Gonzalez (MEX)
[WC] Daria Saville (AUS)/Luke Saville (AUS) v Liudmila Samsonova/Andrea Vavassori (ITA)

Mixed doubles, second round
[WC] Jaimee Fourlis (AUS)/Andrew Harris (AUS) v TBC

> VIEW: Australian Open 2024 mixed doubles draw

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