« Back to articlePrint this article

Paes-Bhupathi, Somdev progress

October 05, 2010 21:38 IST

Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi had things their way as India ruled the tennis courts at the Commonwealth Games on Tuesday.

The top seeded and favorites sailed into the men's doubles quarter-finals with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Sri Lanka's Thangarajah Dineshkanthan and Amresh Jayawickreme in the first round.

Earlier in the day, Somdev Devvarman, the top seed in the men's singles, beat The Bahamas' Devin Mullings 6-4, 6-2.

India's women's doubles pair of Nirupama Sanjeev and Poojashree also cruised to the quarter-finals with a 6-0, 6-1 demolition of Maldives'Aminath Irufa Mahir and Aminath Maleela Solih.

With the Lee-Hesh victory, India have now won seven of the eight matches in two days of competition.

The inexperienced Sri Lankans, who are yet to be ranked on ATP chart, were up against players who share 23 Grand Slam titles between them.

They fought hard but even with their best effort, taming the big boys was too tough a task for them.

Bhupathi struggled with the first serve and backhand and those unforced errors gave a lot many points to the Lankans, who did their best to prevent the contest from becoming a lop-sided affair.

The seasoned Indian pair acknowledged the good fight put up by the Lankan players.

"The boys are talented. It was hard work (for us) today," Paes said after the one hour eight minutes match.

"It was difficult to go through motions in this match. We never got going," said Bhupathi.

Asked if they would preferred playing on grass courts, Paes said, "That was nice. This is nicer."

Early in the day, Mullings gave a rude shock to the home fans by racing to a 4-1 lead in the opening set but Somdev clawed his way back in the match by winning five games in a row.

The thunderous forehands of the Bahamas' left-hander had left Somdev gasping but soon blazing sun over the Centre Court took a toll on Mullings, who started suffering cramps, which played a part in preventing a huge upset in the men's singles.

Somdev admitted his Bahamian opponent was a difficult nut to crack.

"It was a slow start, it wasn't great. Devin Mullings played some good tennis. He played really good. I know I have to play well and my opponent was strong. Credit has to go to my opponent," he said after the match.

Talking about his fitness he said, "Fitness has been my strength. It helps me win a lot of matches. It's always been my game plan."

The Indian said he is enjoying carrying the hopes of the home fans.

"It's great opportunity to represent India. I am embracing it. I am glad that people are following tennis, and I think I have a good chance of winning."

Somdev will next take on Sri Lanka Amresh Jayawickreme, who got the better of Bermuda's David Thomas 6-1, 6-2 in his first round match.