London: India’s doubles entries Leander Paes and Vishnu Vardhan and the seventh seeded pair of Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna crossed the first hurdle in the men’s tennis event of the 2012 London Olympics here Monday.
The unseeded pair of Paes and Vardhan moved into the second round with a hard fought victory over Netherlands’ Jean-Julien Rojer and Robin Haase at the Wimbledon. The Indian pair won 7-6 (7-1), 4-6, 6-2 in an hour and 52 minutes.
Bhupathi and Bopanna also started their Olympics campaign with a tough win against Max Mirnyi and Alexander Bury of Belarus in the first round of men’s doubles at the Wimbledon here Monday.
The seventh seed pair of Bhupathi and Bopanna, who had revolted against the All India Tennis Association (AITA) decision of pairing them with Paes, won 7-6 (7-4), 6-7 (4-7) and 8-6 in a match that lasted two hours and 26 minutes.
Bhupathi and Bopanna next face French duo Julien Benneteau and Richard Gasquet. Paes and Vardhan will be facing a stiff challenge as they will face the second seeded French pair of Joe-Wilfred Tsonga and Michael Llodra.
Meanwhile, Vardhan’s dream outing in the Olympics men’s singles was short-lived as he went down in straight sets to Slovenia’s Blaz Kavcic in the first round.
Vardhan, who was lucky to get a slot in the men’s singles event at the eleventh hour as German Phillip Kohlschreiber pulled out due to a hamstring injury, lost 3-6, 2-6 in 72 minutes.
The 304th-ranked Indian, whose strong point is his serve, was broken thrice in the first set and it was no different in the second. Before Vardhan could get the hang of it, he was down 1-4 and the World No.76 Slovenian walked through to the second round. Vardhan was hardly in the match and he committed far too many unforced errors.