Bhupathi-Knowles fight on, Paes-Dlouhy crash out | sports | Hindustan Times
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Bhupathi-Knowles fight on, Paes-Dlouhy crash out

Mahesh Bhupathi was the lone Indian surviving in the doubles event of the ATP Chennai Open along with his Bahamian partner Mark Knowles as second seed duo of Paes and Dlouhy were shocked in the first round, reports S Basra.

sports Updated: Jan 08, 2009 23:55 IST
Sukhwant Basra

The top-seeded pair of Mahesh Bhupathi and Mark Knowles came within a whisker of being shaved off the draw as Somdev Devvarman and Prakash Amritraj played out of their skins to push the veteran pair 7-6 (3), 7-6 (8) in a match that lasted an hour and 43 minutes.

"We had set points in both sets so it could have gone either way," Amritraj said later. "The first match of the year is always tough. I expected them to raise their game and they did. Both are coming in with matches under their belt and have been working hard," Bhupathi explained the tough opener. The top-seeded duo was certainly rusty and would be glad to have got away with a close win.

Second seeded Leander Paes and Lukas Dlouhy were not as lucky as they crashed out 4-6, 6-2, 10-7 in the super tiebreak to the scratch pair of Bjorn Phau and Rainer Schuettler who had never before paired up on the ATP Tour. The first day in office blues were quite apparent for the Paes-Dlouhy pair as they lacked the match sharpness crucial for doubles chemistry.

They did well to claw back from a 1-4 deficit in the first set to reel off the next six games but then failed to maintain their momentum going into the second set. The super tiebreak format is anyway a lottery which can swing either way and the cause of Paes-Dlouhy was not much helped by two contentious line calls. A Paes volley was called wide while a Phau serve which looked to be clearly long was called good.

In the end those two points may well have been the crucial difference as the calls clearly upset Paes who vociferously argued his case with the chair umpire but to no avail.