Paes' dream of second Olympic medal goes up in smoke

paes-bopanna-afp Leander Paes (L) speaks to teammate Rohan Bopanna during their men's first round doubles tennis match | AFP

Veteran tennis star Leander Paes' dreams of an Olympic medal came crashing down on Saturday after he and Rohan Bopanna went down 4-6, 6-7 (6) against Poland's Lukasz Kubot and Marcin Matkowski in the first round of the men's doubles competition at the Rio Olympics.

Paes-Bopanna surrendered the first set in 32 minutes at the Olympic Tennis Centre and the second set in 52 minutes.

It was Paes' record-setting seventh Olympic appearance, which ended on a disappointing note for the veteran player. But the 43-year-old, a bronze medallist at the 1996 Atlanta Games, never looked like having forged a winning combination with Bopanna.

The Indian duo converted both break points received but gave away seven break points in the first set. Kubot-Matkowski won three of the seven break points received to win the first set 6-4.

The Indian pair committed 18 unforced errors in comparison to 10 by their opponents in the first set.

The second set was closely contested with both teams retaining their serves to stretch it to a tie-breaker.

But ultimately the Indian pair went down fighting 8-6 in the tie-breaker to bow out in 1 hour 24 minutes.

They won only 59 of the total 132 points played in the match.

Kubot-Matkowski will play the winners of the match between eighth seeded Spanish pair of Roberto Agut Bautista and David Ferrer and Czech Republic's Lukas Rosol and Radek Stepanek in the second round.

In the run-up to his first round match in Rio, the veteran made the headlines for all the wrong reasons with questions being raised about his delay in joining the squad.

If that wasn't enough, reports of him not getting a room also surfaced, which he had however, denied on various social networking sites.

To make matters worse, Paes and Bopanna just had one practice match ahead of the quadrennial extravaganza when they played against South Korea in the Davis Cup match in Chandigarh in India last month.

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