Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi put behind their frosty relationship and recreated the old magic to sail into the second round of the men's doubles event of the Beijing Olympics on Tuesday.
It took a lot to make them play together but once they walked out in the court, Paes and Bhupathi were their usual self as the 'Indian Express' duo tamed the French scratch pair of Gael Monfils and Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-3 in less than an hour to breeze into the second round.
The seventh seeded Indians now meet the Brazilian pair of Marcelo Melo and Sa Andre, who upstaged the Czech pair of Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek 5-7, 6-2, 8-6 in a gruelling first round match at the Olympic Green Tennis Centre.
Despite not playing together enough in recent past, there was no real rust in their play as Paes and Bhupathi played clinical tennis against their French rivals to chalk out a rather facile opening round victory.
After the first three games went with the serve, India broke France to go 3-1 up and maintained the lead with Bhupathi serving out for the set.
The second round saw both the pairs levelled at 3-3 when the Indians again broke Monfils and Simon to go 4-3 up and Paes held his serve to make it 5-3.
In the ninth game again, the Indians grabbed the opportunity that came their way to inch close to the win.
Monfils knocked one wide, while Simon's return was buried in the net and Paes then sealed the set and match with a scorcher of a backhand return that rifled past a baffled Monfils.
Paes later said though it seemed an easy outing, they had to fight hard.
"The scoreline may suggest it otherwise but I think it was not that easy. Anyway, I'm happy with the way we played but we need to raise our game in the next round," he said.
"We played solid tennis and I'm really happy to start on the right note," he said.
Asked how they recreated the old chemistry, Paes said, "We didn't need to recreate old magic. It was always there, we just needed to repeat it and we have to repeat it in every match," he said.
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