Paes-Stepanek knock out Kubot-Matkowski in quarters

Jul 03, 2013, 10:39 IST | Ranjona Banerji

The Indian run at Wimbledon remains on track, even with the exit of Sania Mirza and Liesl Huber from the women's doubles and Mahesh Bhupathi and Daniela Hantuchova from the mixed doubles

Mirza, Bhupathi, Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna are still in the tournament. But is it a matter of some concern that we just cannot move beyond the doubles section of any tournament? Somdev Devvarman is not here but after him, India has no singles player of note yet. There is talent but that is rarely enough.

Right now, Bhupathi and Martin Knowle have to get past the Bryan brothers, Michael and Bob in their quarter-final match scheduled for later on Tuesday.

Waiting for the winners of that one are Rohan Bopanna and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, as they snuck past Robert Linstedt and Daniel Nestor in a five set match with a rain delay as they were about to serve for the match. But it was an effective 6 2 in the final set, barely five minutes after they were back on court.

The path is somewhat easier for Paes and Radek Stepanek. They are the superior players on paper and on the courts compared to either of the two pairings they will next have to face – Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo or James Blake and Jurgen Melzer. Incidentally, three of these are mainly singles players but in the cases of Blake and Melzer given their seniority, perhaps they are considering making the transition in the footsteps of Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe. In their match against Julian Benneteau and Nenad Zimonjic they showed both the coordination and the net skills that make them such a formidable combination.

Paes is always aggressive and pumped on court and so in his own way is Stepanek (when he plays singles, many are astounded by his “snake dance”) which make them exhilarating to watch.

Paes and Stepanek got an early break in the fourth set after play resumed post the rain-break but then were broken to even it all at 4 all. But they struck back to break for 5-4. As Stepanek was serving at 40 15 with two match points, a man from the crowd shouted, “Come on Leander, khatam karo bhai” and Stepanek obliged.

The forecast for the next few days is pretty good then for Indian fans here at Wimbledon. The weather as we all know remains unpredictable! 

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