London: Indian challenge in the men`s doubles competition of the Wimbledon ended today with both Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna losing their respective semi-final matches after being engaged in gruelling five-setters.
Bopanna and his French partner Edouard Roger-Vasselin today gave the formidable US pair of
Mike and Bob Bryan a scare before losing 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-3 5-7 6-3 in a battle that lasted for two hours and 48 minutes.
Paes and his Cezch partner Radek Stepanek lost to 12th seeds Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Brazilian Marcelo Melo. The Croat-Brazilian pair won 3-6 6-4 6-1 3-6 6-3 after two hours and 55 minutes.
It is the experience of the US twins at this level of the competition that helped them blow away the Indo-French pair of Bopanna and Roger Vasselin in the fifth set of their semi-final match.
A decisive 3-0 lead early in the final set sealed the match in favour of the Bryans despite a brave fightback from Bopanna and Roger-Vasselin.
In the ninth game when Bob Bryan was serving for the match, Bopanna with a fantastic down the line shot saved a match point but the left-handed Bob served brilliantly to close out on the match on the next match point.
It started well for Bopanna and his French partner as they won the first on tie-breaker at 7-4.
Bopanna did hit some booming aces. The Bryans did well to comeback in the next two sets as they broke serve once in the second set and twice in the third set to win them 6-3 and 6-4 respectively.
The Indo-French pair did well to get a break of serve in the fourth set that they won 7-5.
In the decider, the Bryans broke the serve in the second game and held their serve on either side of the break to take a 3-0 lead which sealed the issue.
In the other semi-final Paes and Stepanek started off
well winning a break of serve and wrapping up the first set in 35 minutes. The second set was also evenly contested for around 46 minutes which Dodig-Melo won with a break of serve.
The winners then broke the serve of the veteran Indo-Czech pair thrice in the third game to win the set 6-1 in just 22 minutes.
The fighter in Paes came to fore as he and Stepanek then made a comeback winning the fourth in just over half an hour to level the proceedings.
If Bopanna and his partner`s loss was due to inexperience of not playing too many Grand Slam semi-finals, Paes and Stepanek with a cumulative age of nearly 75 years couldn`t match up with their much younger opponents who are not even in their 30`s.
Sania Mirza's unimpressive campaign at the Big W ended as she and her Romanian partner Horia Tecau lost to eight seeds Daniel Nestor of Canada and Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic in two-break sets in the mixed doubles quarter-final.
Nestor and Mladenovic won 7-6 (7-5), 7-6, (7-5) with Mirza making a number of unforced errors in the second tie-breaker which cost them the match.
Mirza and tecau infact broke the opposition's serve in the second set only to lose the initiative and couldn't make any further inroads. Mirza's service also was a problem as Nestor repeatedly attacked her second serve while 20-year-old Mladenovic's net play was far better than her much senior Indian opponent.