Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi took some time to get going, but eventually rolled onto safety in their opening Group B match at the ATP world tour finals on Monday. But the other half of the recently united Indian Express, Leander Paes, and his Czech partner Lukas Dlouhy, refused to roll.
Playing in their third successive year at the season-ending tournament, Paes-Dlouhy has not won a single match yet. The pair notched a 0-7 record at the tour finals, following their 6-3, 7-6 (3) loss to Poland's Macin Matkowski and Mariusz Frystenberg in a Group A encounter on Sunday night.
"I thought we played pretty well, though," said Paes. "Played smooth, kept the pressure on. Just didn't raise the level a bit."
Meanwhile, Bhupathi-Mirnyi, who made late entry top- eight by winning the Paris Masters, defeated Olivier Marach and Lukasz Kubot 7-6 (2), 6-4 in their opening Group B encounter in London on Monday.
Having missed out on winning a title in the year, triumphing at the Paris Masters seemed to have put a spring in their stride. Bhupathi-Mirnyi fought back from a 1-3 deficit and through some close chances to take the first set to a tie-break. With the momentum their way, and their opponents struggling to keep the first serves in, the Indo-Belarussian pair had little difficulty in closing out the match from there.
"We started a bit tentative. It's the first match of the Masters," said Bhupathi. We have been playing well coming up here. Eventually we were able to keep that level up through the match, which kind of helped us get through."
With the losing teams in the first group matches playing next, Paes and Dlouhy will face Jurgen Melzer and Philipp Petzschner on Tuesday.