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Bhupathi-Bopanna ousted by wild card French pair

PTI 01 Aug 2012, 7:26:37 AM IST
London, Aug 1: India today suffered a major jolt in the tennis arena with Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna crashing out of the men's doubles event in the Olympic Gammes against a wild card pair at the Wimbledon courts here.

The Indians, whose insistence to play together sparked off a selection storm ahead of the Games, bowed out of the competitions in the second round itself as the French duo of Julien Benneteau and Richard Gasquet scripted a comfortable 6-3 6-4 victory to break a million hearts.

Under a heavy and overcast sky, Bhupathi and Bopanna, who who were touted as serious medal contenders, never really showed great chemistry nor flair as they succumbed to the French pair in a battle, which lasted for one hour and 17 minutes.

It was a dismal end to the campaign of the seasoned combination as they paid a heavy price for a barrage of unforced errors, which eventually allowed the spirited Frenchmen to tilt the balance in their favour.

Bhupathi and Bopanna committed as many as 37 unforced errors, many of them at crucial junctures, to make a hash of things.

The Indian pair never got into any rhythm as they conceded the first set 3-6 in 39 minutes and then frittered away a 3-0 lead to go down 4-6 in the second set, which lasted 38 minutes.

The Indians were broken in the fourth game of the first set and could not really stage a comeback as the Frenchmen piled on the pressure with good court movement and placements.

In the second set, the Indians showed signs of recovering as they started off well to race to a 3-0 lead but could not maintain the tempo as their opponents wriggled out of the tight situation to ultimately clinch the set.

Bhupathi and Bopanna yesterday held their nerve to edge out Max Mirnyi and Alexander Bury with a hard-fought 7-6 (4), 6-7 (4), 8-6 scoreline in a tussle which lasted two hours and 26 minutes in the first round.