Lee-Hesh aim to win first Slam after re-union
Paris: Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, the re-united old war horses, would yet again carry India`s title hopes at French Open, where they won their first and last Grand Slam title together.
Their partnership, that took the world tennis by storm in the late 90s, won India`s first Grand Slam title in 1999. They had finished runners-up in the Australian Open in the same year.
Twice they have gone the distance on the clay courts at Roland Garros and the last time was 2001 before parting ways in 2002.
The old comrades began their re-union in tremendous fashion as they ended runners-up in the Australian Open this year and would look to add a third Roland Garros title when they take courts next week.
Bhupathi has not won a men`s doubles Grand Slam since 2002, when he won US Open with Max Mirnyi, though Paes has been successful in adding three more to his kitty after breaking partnership with Bhupathi.
Paes won French Open with Lukas Dlouhy in 2009 and was a runner-up last year as well. With Bhupathi again on the same side of the court, there is every chance to repeat the magic.
Rohan Bopanna`s partnership with Pakistan`s Aisam-ul-haq Quershi has done wonders for him and the duo would look to improve their record in Grand Slams.
The hopes are not that high in the singles since clay court surface is not something which Somdev Devvarman likes much and Sania Mirza also does not have good memories.
Adding to that, both of them have been handed really tough first round opponents.
Somdev is up against World no. 36 Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia, while Sania Mirza has been drawn against Kristina Barrois of Germany.
Ljubicic had reached the semifinals of the French Open in 2006 for his career best Grand Slam performance and made it to the third round here last year.
Somdev has never played the former World No. 3 Ljubicic before but he can take heart from the fact that has been in good form this season, having made it to the pre-quarterfinals at Indian Wells, where he lost to World No. 1 Rafael Nadal.
This would only be the second appearance in the Roland Garros main draw for the 26-year-old Indian.
World No 74 Sania is also not expected to have an easy outing against Barrois, ranked 59, who had reached the final of the Estoril Open in April.
In her four appearances in French Open, Sania have cleared the second round only once in 2007.