Chennai: Top seeded Indian Express pair of
Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi staved off five match points
as they rallied to oust Beijing olympic gold medalist Stans
Wawrinka and Frank Dansevic combine 3-6, 7-6 (8), 10-4 to give a
winning start to their reunion in a first round doubles match
of the Aircel Chennai Open ATP tournament here on Monday.
Coming together on the ATP Circuit after nine years in a
bid to win that elusive Australian Open title, the Indian duo
was staring at defeat in the second set tie-break, but Paes,
who was off-colour till then, found his rhythm at the right
moment and joined with Bhupathi to dish out high quality
tennis with authority to script a memorable victory.
The supportive crowd that waited patiently into the wee
hours were treated to the famous chest thumping by the Indian
duo as the Swiss-Canadian duo wilted under pressure.
The stunning display of authoritative tennis by Paes and
Bhupathi came after the Asian Games gold medalists and wild
card duo of Somdev Devvaraman and Sanam Singh made a
disappointing early exit losing to Dutch-American pair of
Robin Haase and David Martin.
Somdev and Sanam, the semifinalists here last year, fired
in fits and starts but failed to build momentum as they lost
7-5, 2-6, 8-10.
It was Wawrinka-Dancevic duo that dominated the
proceedings right from the beginning but a sudden shift of
events brought the Indian Express pair to the fore in the
tie-break of second set.
As the rivals failed to cash in on the situation and
being under pressure thus far committing frequent unforced
errors, the Indians, who share a 223-81 career record,
including three Grand Slam doubles titles, grabbed the
opportunity in the super tie break to race to a vital 4-1
Earlier, as the match started Wawrinka, who had partnered
his compatriot Roger Federer of Switzerland to win the Olympic
Gold Medal in Beijing, was not only solid with his serves and
returns but displayed commendable aggression.
Dancevic kept his cool and was consistent with his first
serves for points. With Paes being off colour and nothing work
for him, the rivals went on to lead 5-2 before winning the
first set in 31 minutes.
But Dancevic and Wawrinka could not stand up to the
pressure and perhaps over confidence also did them in as in
the second set the Indians, Bhupathi in particular, made
amends to their first set lapses and tightened up their game
to win their service games. In fact the Indians almost won the
second after Bhupathi led 5-3 on his serve.
However, the Indian pair were soon back to their usual
manner of ruling the roost and played with increasing
confidence while their rivals wilted under pressure to yield
a 7-1 lead in the deciding super tie break.
Here Paes came up with superb volleys, including a few
delectable drive from close to the net, and a stunning return
while Bhupathi starred with booming service points.
Trailing 4-8, Wawrinka came up with two good winners but
Paes and Bhupathi held five match points before Dancevic
failed to put across a Bhupathi return.