Hesh-Bops duo ousted; tricky draw for Paes-Sania

Hesh-Bops duo ousted; tricky draw for Paes-Sania

India’s Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna bowed out in the second round of the men’s doubles at the Olympic Games, losing in straight sets to the French pair of Richard Gasquet and Julien Benneteau on Tuesday.

Gasquet and Benneteau won 6-3, 6-4, ending the dreams of a pair that had fought its way through to the Games after a controversial selection pro-cess.

The defeat also ensured that Bhupathi would end his career without an Olympic medal, after playing five Games. Gasquet and Benneteau were too sharp on the day for the Indians who had their chances in the second set but failed to capitalise. Playing on court 11, the Indians had their fair share of supporters, including Bhupathi’s wife Lara Dutta, but that couldn’t lift the Indians who stumbled on big points to tumble out.

Gasquet had lost his singles match earlier in the day to Cypriot Marcus Baghdatis. That perhaps added to his motivation as he forged a fiery combination with Benneteau. They served well and pushed the Indians on the back foot with some excellent winners, Gasquet’s backhand down the line shots standing out. The Indians were behind early in the first set with Bhupathi’s serve getting broken in the third game. Benneteau seemed to be in some bother, taking treatment for a thigh strain. But he returned soon and the French duo won the first set in 39 minutes. The Indians sensed an opening in the second set when they broke Gasquet’s serve in the second game and moved up 3-0. But the French pair battled back to break Bopanna’s serve in the fifth game and then forged ahead, breaking the Bangalorean’s serve again in the ninth game for a 5-4 lead.

Gasquet then served out the match in style.  Leander Paes and Vishnu Vardhan’s match against Michael Llodra and Jo Wilfried Tsonga of France was postponed, with Tsonga involved in a marathon match.

Tough draw

Meanwhile, Paes and Sania Mirza were handed out a tough draw in the mixed doubles on Tuesday. The Indian pair will meet Ana Ivanovic and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia in the first round and if they come through that, they could meet the top seeds Victoria Azarenka and Max Mirnyi of Belarus in the second round. Mirnyi and Azarenka were drawn against Angelique Kerber and Philipp Petzchner of Germany in the first round.

Liezel Huber and Bob Bryan of the United States are the second seeds while the other Bryan, Mike and partner Lisa Raymond, are seeded third.

Results (second round, prefix denote seedings): Men’s singles: Lleyton Hewitt (Aus) bt Marin Cilic (Cro) 6-4, 7-5; 2-Novak Djokovic (Srb) bt Andy Roddick (US) 6-2, 6-1; 3-Andy Murray (Bri) bt Jarkko Nieminen (Fin) 6-2, 6-4; 8-Juan Martin Del Potro (Arg) bt Andreas Seppi (Ita) 6-3, 7-6(2); 1-Roger Federer (Swi) bt Julien Benneteau (Fra) 6-2, 6-2.  Women's singles: Maria Sharapova (Rus) bt Laura Robson (Bri) 7-6(5), 6-3; Venus Williams (US) bt Aleksandra Wozniak (Can) 6-1, 6-3; 8-Caroline Wozniacki (Den) bt Yanina Wickmayer (Bel) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3; 11-Ana Ivanovic (Srb) bt Elena Baltacha (Bri) 6-4, 7-6(5); 4-Serena Williams (US) bt Urszula Radwanska (Pol) 6-2, 6-3.        

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