Paes and Mahesh storm into the quarters

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Beijing, Aug 13 (UNI) Recapturing magic of the yore, the Indian Express' pair of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi steam rolled the Brazilian duo of Andre SA and Marcelo Melo in straight sets to chug into the quarter finals of the doubles event of the Olympic Tennis competition here today.

The Indians playing solid tennis demolished the Brazilians 6-4, 6-2 in 108 minutes to reduce the second round encounter virtually to a no contest.

''It was a good match, but don't go by the score line, it was tough as every match is bound to be in the Olympics,'' Paes said after the win.

The Indians, who had demolished the French duo of Gael Monfils and Gilles Simon yesterday, showed no mercy to their rivals this time too and chalked out another emphatic victory.

''We played solid game, it was a good show, our energy level is high. We played sharp and fast,'' Paes said describing the win.

The winner of three Grand Slams, Mahesh and Paes were far too hot for the Brazilian to handle.

And despite the fact that the Indians are an estranged duo, who have played only two tournaments together this season (Davis Cup being the exception), they combined so well that their rivals had no clue of what was happening to them on the court.

The shape of things to come was evident from the very start when Melo had a hard time to hold on to his first serve which went into deuce.

There was no such problem for the Indians, with Mahesh Bhupathi serving fluently and Paes backing him well at the net.

The Paes-Mahesh duo tested the success very early in this set when they broke Andre SA in the third game.

The 31-year-old Andre, who looked tentative, double faulted after trailing 0-40 at his own serve and the Brazilian never recovered from this setback.

The rest of the set went with the serves with Paes and Leander finishing their respective serves without much ado, while Melo and Andre struggled to hold on to their serves.

The first set lasted 31 minutes.

The second set was the repeat of the first barring few minor additions. It lasted seven minutes longer and in this, both Melo and Andre were broken.

Melo after trailing 15-40 on his first serve, committed a double fault to hand Indians a 1-0 lead and then Andre failed to hold on to his seventh game and the Indian clinched the set (6-2) in 38 minutes and the match.

''This is the first time that we played this Brazilian pair in the doubles, though I have faced Andre thirce before. Twice in the singles at Wimbeldon and in Vietnam ATP tournament and in doubles also and lost all the three time,'' Paes informed and when told that it was a good revenge, he shot back, ''no I am still two down.'' The two Indians played with such understanding and co-ordination that it was difficult to think that they are not even on talking terms with each other and at one stage Mahesh even had said that he would not like to play with Paes in the Olympics.

The two blended well on the court complimenting each other's efforts. Serving Mahesh was well backed up by Paes near the net and when Paes served, Mahesh came up with some superb returns blocking the rival's efforts to take control of the court.

Paes also sizzled with some beautiful back hand cross courts while Mahesh was rock solid with his fore hands.

''When we are on high, it is very tough to beat us,'' a visibly pleased Paes said adding, ''Those who talk about our chemistry going wrong know nothing about us. We are professionals, we know what we have to do, we don't have to hang around together all the time,'' he further elaborated.

Asked about the medal chances, Paes said, ''I am thinking of the next match, I look at every tournament match by match, let us first see what happens in the third match.'' ''But let me tell you we are playing well and will do our best in the next round too,'' Paes asserted UNI HSB RAR AS1639

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