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Hewitt/Rafter Doubles Campaign Ends In Defeat

Melbourne, Australia

Rafter, Hewitt© Getty ImagesPat Rafter was playing competitively for the first time in more than 12 years.

It was the match everyone clamoured to watch as Patrick Rafter stepped back onto court for the first time in 10 years in the Australian Open doubles first round with Lleyton Hewitt. Their campaign was shortlived, though, as the Australian duo lost to Eric Butorac and Raven Klaasen 6-4, 7-5.

Andy Murray tweeted during the match, “Great to see rafter playing again.. holding his own as you would expect! Classical game you don't see nowadays.” With Roger Federer also tweeting, “Watching Doubles on TV, love it #Hewitt #Rafter c'mon, after that @stanwawrinka the #stanimal.”

"It's always great fun being back out there with Lleyton," said Rafter. "Having a player like him, you know you're going to get a few games. Outside of that, I was a little worried how it was going to go. I don't think it will happen again, but it was good fun while it lasted.

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"I served better than I thought I would. I volleyed okay. Gee, I wish I returned a bit better than that. And my second shot was just forget it, it was horrible.  It was actually laughable. At a certain stage, I was just laughing."

Hewitt added, "Those guys played well. They served well to both of us. [Rafter] played well. A bit of fun. It was a good crowd atmosphere out there. It was good for the tournament, I think."

Alexander Peya had reason for celebration Wednesday following his first-round match. The 33-year-old Austrian recorded his 200th match win as he and Bruno Soares teamed up to beat Feliciano Lopez and Andre Sa 6-4, 6-4. Peya and Soares, the No. 2 seeds, reached back-to-back finals in Doha and Auckland to start the 2014 season.

Sixth-seeded Spaniards Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez advanced by the same scoreline, defeating Australians Samuel Groth and John-Patrick Smith.

Last week’s Apia International Sydney champions Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic opened their bid with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Benjamin Becker and Daniel Brands. The Canadian/Serbian duo, who reunited at the start of the 2014 season, finished runners-up at Melbourne Park in 2010.

Poland’s Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski, the No. 9 seeds, advanced to the second round with a 7-5, 7-5 win over Tomasz Bednarek and Ivo Karlovic. Meanwhile, tenth seeds Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau claimed the first win of their partnership by defeating Teymuraz Gabashvili and Mikhail Kukushkin 6-2, 7-5.

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