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Grandin goes through

Natalie Grandin is through to the second round of the doubles competition at the Australian Open in Melbourne, writes Mark Etheridge.

Our second-ranked singles player and seeded ninth with partner Vladimira Uhlirova for the year’s first Grand Slam tournament, Grandin got past Sorana Cirstea and Lucie Safarova in three sets.

They beat the Romanian/Czech combination 2-6 6-4 6-4 in just over two hours of Court 18 action to set up a second round clash with the all-Romanian couple of Irina-Camelia Begu and Monica Niculescu.

But there was no such good fortune for our top-ranked singles player Chani Scheepers. After fighting hard but going down to Svetlana Kuznetsova in the opening round of the singles, she also exited the doubles competition.

She was teamed up with local girl Casey Dellacqua and the two went down in three sets to Spanish 13th seeds Nuria Llagostera Viva and Arantxa Parra Santonja. After taking the first set 6-2, Scheepers and Dellacqua lost the next two 6-4 6-4 in a match lasting just under two hours.

Meanwhile Grandin is taking one step at a time. “Haven’t even looked at the draw yet,” she told Road to London 2012 on Thursday. “We haven’t played these girls [the Romanians] as a team but have played them individually.

And she was happy about their first round win: “We fought hard to beat a team that have had good singles results. Now we play again on Saturday. I’m playing in the mixed tomorrow, first up at 11am.”

She’ll team up with Jean-Julien Rojer of the Netherlands Antilles in the mixed where they take on sixth seeded Indians Sania Mirza and Mahesh Bhupathi. Should they get through that clash, she may well face her doubles partner Uhlirova in the next round. Uhlirova is teamed up with American Scott Lipsky. “I played US Open with Jean-Julien but I’ve only played mixed a couple times.”

Asked about the sweltering conditions traditionally associated with the Aussie Open, she said: “The heat is fine, I’m from Durban so can handle the heat.”