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The beleaguered Indian tennis contingent received its first major blow at Wimbledon on Saturday as French Open Champions Sania Mirza and Mahesh Bhupathi suffered a shock defeat at the hands of the unseeded pair of Paul Hanley and Alla Kudryavtseva in the 2nd round of the Mixed Doubles event. However there was good news for Leander Paes as the veteran Indian legend and his Men's Doubles partner Radek Stepanek reached the 3rd round of that event with a straight sets victory over the unseeded Israeli pair of Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram. Leander Paes also received a first round bye in the mixed doubles draw along with his Russian partner Elena Vesnina.
The 5th seeded Indian pair of Bhupathi and Mirza looked totally off-colour today as they met with an embarrassing 3-6, 1-6 defeat in the 2nd round. The all-Indian pair also received a bye in the first round, and struggled to play their usual brand of complementary tennis and were rather soundly beaten. The Australian-Russian pair cashed in on the weak serves of the Indian pair as they won almost half of the receiving points in the 50 minute contest.
In stark contrast Bhupathi and Mirza, the in-form Indo-Czech pairing of Leander and Radek won their 2nd round match 6-2, 6-4, 7-6(5) after a gruelling contest which lasted for 2 hours and 20 minutes. The first set completely belonged to Paes-Stepanek, as they dropped only 3 points on their serve. They picked up 2 breaks to take the set 6-2 in a mere 30 minutes.
The Israeli pair started to find their rhythm slowly in the second set, as the contest started to close up. But the experienced duo still managed to pick up the all important break to take the set 6-4 in 45 minutes.
The 3rd set was fought fiercely. Both pairs traded a break each to take the set to a tiebreaker. Finally, it was the 4th seeded pair of Paes and Stepanek who had the last laugh, edging out the Israelis 7-5 in the breaker to seal a 3rd round berth.
The Indo-Czech pair will now face the 15th seeded pairing of Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo in the 3rd round. The Croat-Brazilian pair defeated the German duo of Martin Emmrich and Michael Kohlmann in the 2nd round.
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