Paes, Vardhan knocked out of doubles

India's only remaining tennis medal hope is the mixed doubles

Indian duo Leander Paes and Vishnu Vardhan were knocked out of the Olympic doubles on Wednesday after a 7-6 (7/3), 4-6, 6-3 defeat against French second seeds Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Michael Llodra.

Paes was only paired with Vardhan by All India Tennis Association (AITA) chiefs after Mahesh Bhupathi refused to play with the doubles ace following the breakdown of their successful partnership.

The controversy turned ugly when Bhupathi accused Paes of lying to him on several occasions and changing his partner during a tournament in November 2011 without informing him.

After several weeks of tension, Bhupathi, who wrote to the AITA to protest against their decision, finally got his wish to play with Rohan Bopanna at the Games, while Paes was told to play with Vardhan.

The new pairing had beaten Robin Haase and Jean-Julien Rojer of the Netherlands in the first round, but they were unable to shock the French duo on Wimbledon's Court 18.

To their credit, Paes and Vardhan pushed Tsonga and Llodra all the way, but their defeat ends India's hopes of a medal in the men's doubles.

Bhupathi and Bopanna, seeded seventh, had been expected to mount a strong medal challenge but they suffered a shock 6-3, 6-4 second round defeat against France's Richard Gasquet and Julien Benneteau earlier in the week.

India's only remaining tennis medal hope is the mixed doubles partnership of Paes and Sania Mirza, who will kick off their campaign on Thursday.


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