Lee-Hesh run over by Fed-Express

August 15th, 2008 - 7:46 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Roger Federer
By V Krishnaswamy
Beijing, August 15 (IANS) Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, in what may have been their last journey together, came a cropper against Swiss Roger Federer and Stanislas Warwinka going down 2-6, 4-6 in the men’s doubles quarter-final at the Olympic Green Tennis Centre here Friday. Paes and Bhupathi, winner of 82 doubles titles between them and partnering for a fourth successive Games, were swept aside by a pair, who play more of singles than doubles in just over 80 minutes.

Resuming their battle from 1-4, when rain halted play late Thursday night, Paes and Bhupathi began well, winning five points in a row as they held their serve to make it 2-4. But then Warwinka, whom the Indians were targeting, was also up to the task and held his own to make it 5-2 for the Swiss.

But Paes failed to hold his serve to concede the first set.

The match went with serve till 4-4 in the second set. But the Swiss pair was in complete control. Federer served out at love to make it 5-4 and Bhupathi then needed to hold his serve to extend the match.

Federer piled on the pressure and in no time, it was two match points for the Swiss pair. Paes saved the first with a smash, but off the next Bhupathi hit out and there ended the match.

Paes and Bhupathi may have had a 13-year history of playing together, though they have spent a better part of the last seven-odd years teaming up with different partners, but the Swiss duo combined well despite having played little doubles together.

And with their loss, India’s most anticipated medal hope went up in smoke.

The most telling comment came from Paes, who said, “Half an hour after the match I am still thinking where we went wrong. Did we miss any chances? Maybe we missed some half chance. But we just ran into them a day when they played very well.”

While Federer is about to be relegated to No. 2 ranking Monday, Wawrinka, ninth last month, is now no. 10 in the world. So, a scratch pairing it may have been, but they are both top-tenners.

Federer and Wawrinka will now play top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan, while in the other semi-final, Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra, the defending champions from Athens, will play Swedish pair, Simon Aspelin and Thomas Johansson of Sweden.

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