Rain gives Paes-Bhupathi a reprieve

August 15th, 2008 - 1:31 am ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Roger Federer
By V Krishnaswamy
Beijing, August 14 (IANS) A patchy Indian pair of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi were saved by the rain as their quarter final match against Roger Federer and Stanislas Warinka was suspended with the Indians trailing 1-4. A slight drizzle, which grew in intensity, forced a stoppage in play after just 16 minutes during which Federer and Wawrinka broke the Indians once to run up a 4-1 lead.

The rain came as a welcome break for the Indian duo, who would be looking to bounce back when the match resumes Friday. Paes and Bhupathi will need to forget Thursday’s lacklustre performance and get off the blocks quickly.

The rain was also a reprieve of sorts for Federer, who was shocked in the quarterfinals. He came into the doubles after being eliminated in straight sets by American James Blake, and looked much sharper than in the singles. Paes and Bhupathi seemed shaky and gave too many points through unforced errors.

Federer opened the match and held his serve comfortably, and with Wawrinka he broke through Bhupathi’s serve to get an early break. Then Wawrinka held his serve to make it 3-0.

It was in the fourth game of the match that the Indians came onto the scoreboard with Paes holding his serve. Immediately after that Federer against pushed ahead a good service game to make it 4-, when the rain started,

The players and the officials waited for about 20 minutes during which the rain became more persistent after which the play was called off for the day.

Earlier in the singles, an error-filled Federer was beaten 6-4, 7-6 by Blake who got his maiden victory over the Swiss in nine meetings.

Eighth seed Blake was in sizzling form as he broke with Federer trying to save the first set at 4-5. In the second set, Federer fell back 0-3, and then battled back to 3-3.

They went into the tie-breaker where Blake held his nerve and surged to a 6-2 lead and wrapped up the match on his first match point. Earlier, top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan stayed on course for their first Olympic Games medal with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Australians Chris Guccione and Lleyton Hewitt on Thursday. The Bryan brothers, who lost in the quarters four years ago, came back from 1-4 in first set.

Also through to the semifinals are the Swede combine Simon Aspelin and Thomas Johansson, who beat Polish pair Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski 7-6(5), 6-4.

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