The dream died for Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi. It will be small consolation that it took an inspired Roger Federer to derail their medal prospects and keep a packed house gasping in awe on Friday.
Federer showed flashes of his genius as he and Swiss partner Stanislas Wawrinka tamed the famous but ageing Indian pair 6-2, 6-4 in one hour and 22 minutes to enter the doubles semifinals.
Smarting from his defeat on Centre Court against James Blake in the quarterfinals, Federer was in a different zone. He not only guided his teammate, but bore the burden to make sure the Indians never made a comeback.
Federer-Wawrinka had already stamped their authority on the match on Thursday when they led 4-1 till rain stopped play. Upon resumption, the Swiss were unbeatable.
“I don’t think we could have done much more than what we had already done,” said Paes, who kept mentioning just one word - Federer - when asked about what went wrong during the match.
Resuming the match at 1-4, Bhupathi held his serve. But the Swiss hit back and when Federer sealed the set with a backhand half-volley, the Indians knew what was about to come.
In the second, Paes and Bhupathi picked up the momentum, but Federer did not let them dominate.
“Roger was phenomenal. He proved why he is among the best in the world,” said Paes.
“It was heartbreak for us. We’ve played together for so long and an Olympic medal was missing in our showcase. We came close to winning it but then we never won it.
“When you have the best player in the world on the other side of the net not missing much one cannot do anything. “If my body stays in shape I would be playing in the 2012 Olympic Games in London,” said Paes.