The much-heralded star pair of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi crashed to a straight-set defeat against their Taipei opponents as India went down 1-2 to the second seeds in the opening round of the men's tennis team competition in the Asian Games in Doha on Monday.
Paes and Bhupathi, who have won three Grand Slam doubles titles in the past, looked listless as they went down 2-6, 3-6 in only 76 minutes to the Taipei pair of Wang Yeu Tzuoo and Lu Yen Hsun in the deciding match after the two teams had been locked 1-1 at the end of the singles contests.
Taipei went 1-0 up when India's Karan Rastogi was beaten in straight sets 6-1, 6-3 in 70 minutes by Wang before the gangling Rohan Bopanna, India's highest ranked player on the ATP circuit, restored parity by edging out Lu by 4-6, 7-6, 6-4.
But Paes and Bhupathi, who have had an uneasy partnership ever since their highly publicised split in the world tennis circuit a few years ago, could never get going and were unequal to the task of keeping India in the contest for a medal.
They lost the first set in 34 minutes and the next in 36.