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Paes and Stepanek on wrong end of a doubles shock

The Bryan brothers compare rackets
by Ian Baker
Tuesday 3 July 2012

It was 1999 when Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes first enjoyed prominence as doubles partners, but 13 years on the Indian duo will not be adding another Wimbledon crown to their only men’s triumph at SW19 so far.

They were both upset in their matches with different partners as men’s doubles action continued, despite a stop-start day thanks to the elements.

Linking up with another Indian in Rohan Bopanna, Bhupathi went down in straight sets in surprising fashion to Denis Istomin of Ukraine and his Russian partner, Mikhail Elgin, in the remaining second round match.

Istomin had a surprise run to the fourth round of the singles competition and took that forward into the pairs event, eventually securing a 7-5, 7-6(4), 6-3 victory.

The evergreen 39-year-old Paes, who has seven Grand Slam men’s doubles titles, and Czech partner Radek Stepanek can consider themselves more unfortunate. With scores level overnight at one set-all, the pair lost the next set 6-4 to the unheralded Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Malo, the No.15 seeds. Paes and Stepanek, themselves seeded No.4, then won the fourth 7-2 on the tiebreak but came unstuck, losing a deciding set 8-6 to leave Croat Dodig and Brazilian Malo through to the quarter-final stages.

All other doubles participants were left frustrated by the elements with No.2 seeds and reigning champions Bob and Mike Bryan seemingly cruising to victory at 7-6(5), 6-4, 2-2 against Frenchmen Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra.

The 2002 singles champion, Lleyton Hewitt, and partner Chris Guccione have it all to do if they are to come back in their third round match, with opponents Scott Lipsky and Rajeev Ram snatching the first set on Court 12.

Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecau, men’s doubles finalists here in 2010 and 2011, look well placed to make the quarter-finals after they took the first set 6-4 against Belgians Steve Darcis and Olivier Rochus.


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