Rohan Bopanna. Image Credit: PTI

Melbourne: Rohan Bopanna is facing a tough first round in the Australian Open mixed doubles with new playing partner Nadia Kichenok.

The Indian doubles specialist crashed out alongside Yasutaka Uchiyama in the first round of men’s doubles, losing to American twins and former World No. 1 duo Bob and Mike Bryan on Wednesday.

Now Bopanna has a new challenge as he and Kichenok have been drawn against second seeds Nicolas Mahut and Shuai Zhang in a match scheduled for Saturday. Bopanna was expected to play with compatriot Sania Mirza but she has withdrawn from the tournament through injury.

Indian veteran Leander Paes — making his swansong on tour this year — is also in the mixed doubles, having received a wild-card entry. Paes will pair up with 2017 French Open women’s singles champion Jelena Ostapenko. The duo will take on home hopes Storm Sanders and Marc Polmans in the first round.