Australian Open: Bopanna-Qureshi bow out

Melbourne: Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi moved into quarterfinals but "Indo-Pak Express", Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi crashed out of the men`s doubles event in the Australian Open.

The ace Indian pair of Paes and Bhupathi, who teamed up together after nine years in a bid to add the only Grand Slam title -- the Australian Open -- missing in their cupboard, scored a fighting three set win over 13th seeds Granollers and Robredo 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in an engrossing third round clash that lasted for an hour and 52 minutes.

Things, however, did not fall in place for Bopanna and Qureshi as the "Indo-Pak Express" went down fighting to France`s Michael Llodra and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia 6-3, 6-7, 6-7 in another tough third round match which spanned over two

Third seeded pair of Paes and Bhupathi started the match positively as they pocketed the first set in just 33 minutes. But Granollers and Robredo made a strong comeback in the second to take the encounter into the decider which the Indians won after a 42 minute battle.

The highlight of Paes and Bhupathi`s game today was their cent percent break point conversion. The Indian pair made use of the two opportunities that came their way while their opponents could only manage two out of the four chances they earned.

Paes and Bhupathi, however, will have to get their acts together in the last eight round and avoid committing unforced errors, which they did 18 times today as against their rival`s eight.

In the quarterfinals, Paes and Bhupathi will play Llodra and Zimonjic, who held on to their nerves today to outplay the Bopanna-Qureshi pair.

Against Llorda and Zimonjic today, Bopanna and Qureshi, seeded 10th here, got off to a great start registering the first set in their favour with a comfortable 6-3 win.

But the Indo-Pak duo faced some stiff resistance from Llodra and Zimonjic in the next two sets.

Both the pairs fought hard and hardly spared an inch to one another. They and matched each other in all departments of the game to stretch the second as well as the third set to tie-breakers.

While the second set went on for almost an hour, the third and the final set saw a enthralling 50-minute battle.

In both the two tie-breakers, Bopanna-Qureshi failed to finish it off, even as Llodra and Zimonjic managed to earn crucial points to seal the affair with a 6-7 (6-8) and 6-7 (3-7) victory, respectively.