Paes, Bhupathi cruise into second round

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Beijing, Aug 12 (UNI) The seventh seeded pair of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi scratched out the scratch combination of Gael Monfils and Gilles Simon of France in straight sets to move into the second round of the doubles event in the Olympic Tennis competition here today.

The famed Indian Express took just 57 minutes to show the door to the French pair in straight sets 6-3, 6-3.

''It was not an easy win, as it looked from the score line'' asserted Leander Paes after the match. ''We will have to raise the bar in the next match.'' In the second round, the medal aspirant Indian duo will meet the Brazilian pair of Marcelo Melo and Andre SA who surprised more the fancied Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek (Czech Republic) 5-7, 6-2, 8-6.

Monfils and Simon hardly looked like a serious doubles combination and once they realised that it was difficult to get past their formidable rivals, their interest in the match waned.

Paes and Bhupathi were solid. They combined well and their powerful returns left the French men a little bewildered.

Monfils, who was the semi-finalist in the French open singles this year, was more intrested in having a practice of a sort before his singles.

Simon put up some fight but with no help from his partner, he also threw in the towel.

Bhupathi started the serve and with a Paes near the net, the Indians dominated the procedings from the very start. Some stunning forehand shots and superb placings by them unsettled the French pair as Simon dropped the fourth game to trail 1-3 .

After that, the set went with the serve and the Indians wrapped up the set 6-3 in 25 inutes.

The second set was a totally one sided affair with Monfils more intrested in playing football with the ball and kicking it and saying goal rather then concentrating on the match.

The Indians however did not relax and tightened their grip over the match as they again broke Simon in the 7th game when Leander Paes came up with a stunning cross wchich left the French men stranded in the middle of the court.

In the ninth game, Monfils started with a double fault, then Simon sent a return wide off the court and the Indians led 40-15 and then Paes came up with a scorching back hand shot which zipped past beteen the two rival players and Indians were home.

The second set lasted 32 minutes.

''The people say that we are recreating the past magic, but I said we never lost the magic we are repeating it,'' said Paes after the win and he hastened to add that,''Abhinav's gold winning feat was an inspiration for us.'' ''The competition is tough here and it is good to win the first round convincingly, but we will have to maintain the progress and keep on improving with every match. No body takes Olympics lightly,'' he added.

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