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Old guard delivers

Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi quelled a late challenge from Tsung-Hua Yang and Chu-Huan Yi for a hard-fought 6-4 7-6...

Written by Agencies | Kaohsiung | Published: March 8, 2009 12:27:12 am

Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi quelled a late challenge from Tsung-Hua Yang and Chu-Huan Yi for a hard-fought 6-4 7-6 (0) 6-7 (2) 6-2 win in their second-round Davis Cup tie against Chinese Taipei and hand India a 2-1 advantage on Saturday.

Paes-Bhupathi were cruising comfortably in the rain-delayed match before the Taipei pair surprised the multiple Grand Slam winners in the third set. The Indians were down 1-5 after being broken twice — in the third and fifth games — but then won five games on the trot to get to 6-5,saving six set points en route to the tie-breaker. But both double faulted at crucial junctures and ended up losing the set.

India need to win one of the two reverse singles on Sunday to advance to the third round of the Asia/Oceania Group I competition. Somdev Devvarman,who won the first singles,is up against a tough customer in Yen-Hsun Lu in the first reverse singles. Rohan Bopanna will play the second reverse singles against Ti Chen.

In Saturday’s match,the Indian pair began broke their rivals in the first game of the match but faced breakpoints of their own in the sixth game as Bhupathi struggled with his first serve before managing to hold.

Paes converted the second of three breakpoints when he hit a stunning return off Yang’s serve in the third game of the second set. A drop of serve in the eighth game turned the second set into a closer fight. However,the seasoned Indian pair stretched it to the tie-breaker and blanked the hosts 7-0 to go two sets up.

Surprised by the third-set loss,the Indian pair stepped on the accelerator and rode on a double break to win the fourth.

“It was a frustrating day,first with the rain delay then not rolling over a team we thought we should beat easily,and then the shanks. But we got it together in time. We go into every match expecting to win. When teams play India in Davis Cup,we want them to feel they are already down a rubber,” Bhupathi said.

Activists clash in Sweden

Dozens of anti-Israel activists clashed with police as they tried to storm a closed arena where hosts Sweden and Israel were playing their tie in Malmo. The activists hurled rocks and firecrackers at police vans. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

In Benidrom,Spain,Rafael Nadal routed Janko Tipsarevic 6-1 6-0 6-2 on Saturday to give defending champions Spain a 2-0 lead. The third-ranked Djokovic was upset 6-3 6-3 7-6 (4) by David Ferrer in the first singles match.

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