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Davis Cup: The Indian Express 24 and counting

Last updated on: September 19, 2010 12:42 IST

Paes-Bhupathi record straight-sets win

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Bikash Mohapatra

The ever reliable combine of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi ensured India's interest in the Davis Cup World Group play-off in Chennai remained alive with a straight sets win over the Brazilian combine of Bruno Soares and Marcelo Melo on Saturday.

Brazil had taken a 2-0 lead on the opening day with both Rohan Bopanna and Somdev Devvarman coming up second best in five set encounters.

The Indian Express' 6-4, 7-6 (5), 6-1 win was their 24 straight success in the competition (25th overall), a record. They have played 27 matches overall, losing just two of them.

The Indian pair's last defeat in Davis Cup doubles came at Kolkata in 1996 when they came second best to the Swedish pair of Jonas Bjorkman and Nicklas Kulti.

Melo and Soares too came into the tie with a certain reputation. They had upset the top-ranked Bryan brothers at the French Open.

However, the manner in which they capitulated on Saturday was enough to suggest that win was a fluke.

To be fair to the Brazilians, they had their chances, particularly in the second set. Four set points and a 4-1 lead in the tie-break was ample opportunity to square things; only if they had converted any of those many opportunities.

The 'Indian Express' began proceedings on an aggressive note, reeling off the first four games.

Both Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares lost their opening service games before the former opened their account on the scoreboard by holding serve in the fifth game.

This marked the beginning of a brief retaliation by the Brazilians. Bhupathi's serve was broken in the sixth game as the visitors reduced the arrears to 4-3.

However, the Indian duo survived the pressure and Bhupathi sealed the set with an ace.


Image: Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes

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The Brazilian pair failed to put up a fight

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The second set was the best of the match.

With the Brazilian duo starting to play their natural game, things became a tad tougher for the Indian duo.

It went on serve till the 10th game where the visitors had two set points on Leander's serve.

They failed to convert any. Two games later, Bhupathi offered them another couple of chances.

The Brazilians weren't interested and the stage was set for a tie-breaker.

The Melo-Soares combine raced to a 4-1 lead before the Indians made a strong comeback - six of the next seven points - to pocket the breaker 7-5.

Coming from 0-2 down is not an easy task but a meek submission by the Brazilians in the third set made it much easier for the Indians.

Melo's serve was broken in the second game and when he was broken a second time in the sixth game, it was all over.

Leander served out the match with relative ease, despite having a break point on his serve.


Image: Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes

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