Bhupathi-Bopanna pair knocked out of Olympics

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Rohan and Mahesh ousted
London, Aug 1: Indian pair of Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna have been knocked out of the men's tennis doubles event in the second round at the London Olympics 2012 after losing their second round match here on Tuesday evening.

The Indian duo, which was seeded seventh was sent packing by the French combination of Julien Benneteau and Richard Gasquet in 6-3, 6-4 sets in 77 minutes.

Benneteau-Gasquet broke twice early to take a 4-1 lead in the first set. Having been pushed on the back-foot, the Indian pair could not recover and lost the first set 3-6 in 39 minutes.

However, in the second, Indians raised hopes of levelling the set and taking the match in the decider. They had opened up a 3-0 lead but squandered that advantage and the French duo staged a fine rally to make it 3-3. From here, Bhupathi and Bopanna managed to win only one game while the French players pocketed the match with a score of 6-4 in the second. The second set was won in 38 minutes.

Bhupathi and Bopanna had won their first match on Monday at the Wimbledon. They had beaten Belarusian pair of Max Mirnyi and Alexander Bury 7-6 (7/4), 6-7 (7/4), 8-6 in a match that went on for two hours and 26 minutes.

In the overall statistics, the Indians had more winners (26) as against their opponents' 21 but the end result was not in their favour. The French pair had a 72% of win on their first serve while Indians had 66%.

Bhupathi and Bopanna made five unforced errors had five aces in the match. Benneteau and Gasquet had three aces and three unforced errors. Also, Indians could manage to convert only one of their seven break points. The French duo won three break points out of four.

Having forced the All India Tennis Association (AITA) to send them as one team, Bhupathi and Bopanna managed one win at the Games. The selection of doubles teams had created a huge controversy in India and Bhupathi-Bopanna had their way and set foot in London as a pair and were expecting to get a medal.

But all hopes of a podium finish have now vanished.

Initially, AITA selectors had teamed up Bhupathi and India's number one player Leander Paes. But Bhupathi defied AITA and wanted to play with Bopanna, saying they had the best chance of winning a medal. AITA succumbed to Bhupathi and Bopanna's demands and Paes was paired with the lesser known Vishnu Vardhan. Paes and Vardhan had won their opening round match on Monday.

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