Olympic tennis: Paes-Vardhan go out with heads held high

Cheered by a sizeable Indian crowd, Paes and Vardhan put on a valiant performance before going down 6-7 (3-7), 6-4 and 3-6 in a match that lasted 127 minutes.

Vishnu, who had to partner Paes after Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna refused to pair with the 1996 Olympic bronze medallist, showed maturity and played with his heart out.

Leander Paes, Vishnu Vardhan, Olympic tennis
Leander Paes and partner Vishnu Vardhan in action at London Olympics. Photo: AFP

The Indians managed four aces while their opponents hit 11. Paes and Vardhan, however, were good with their serve committing just one double fault. The Indians also committed 12 unforced errors while Tsonga and Llodra had 13.
In the first set, the French were doing a catching up job before stretching it to the tie-breaker. The Indian were slightly off-colour in the tie-breaker which they lost 3-7.
The unseeded Indians, however, came back strongly in the second round winning it 6-4 to draw level. The Indian pair started well taking the first game by breaking Tsonga's serve.
Paes did well to hold on to his serve as India took a 2-0 lead in the second set. But Llodra held on to his serve to make it 1-2. 
It was time for Vardhan to rise on to the occasion and he helped India make it 3-1. Tsonga showed his class to make it 2-3 for France. But Paes' serve helped India win sixth game for a 4-2 lead before wrapping up the set in 42 minutes.
In the third set, the Indians did well to draw level at 3-3, but from then on the French duo didn't give them any chance went on to pocket the next three games to make it 6-3.
Paes is still alive in the mixed doubles where he will pair with Sania Mirza and will take on the Serbian duo of Nenad Zimonjic and Ana Ivanovic. Their first round match that was slated for Wednesday has been postponed.
The other Indian men's doubles pair of Bhupathi and Bopanna were also knocked out Tuesday.

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