London: Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna suffered a disappointing start to their ATP Tour Finals doubles campaign as the Indian duo were beaten 6-4, 6-7 (1/7) 12/10 by Jonathan Marray and Frederik Nielsen on Tuesday.
Bhupathi and Bopanna arrived at London’s O2 Arena in a rich vein of form after winning the Paris Masters double crown last week, but they were unable to maintain that good run against the reigning Wimbledon doubles champions.
The Indian pair, seeded fifth, were making their first appearance together at the season-ending event, although Bhupathi had qualified on 11 previous occasions with three different partners, and they will have to win their last two matches to keep alive their hopes of reaching the semi-finals.
After Marray and Nielsen took the first set, Bhupathi and Bopanna hit back in the second to set up a super tie-break to decide the match.
Bhupathi and Bopanna should have won it, but their opponents managed to save two match points and then converted their first match point to steal the Group B victory.
There was better news for India’s Leander Paes in Tuesday’s other doubles tie at the Tour Finals.
Paes and Czech partner Radek Stepanek, seeded third, kicked off their campaign in Group A with a 6-4, 7-5 victory over Pakistan’s Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and Jean-Julien Rojer of the Netherlands.
Paes and Stepanek were appearing in this event as a team for the first time, although the Indian had made 14 previous visits with different partners, reaching the final four times.
They looked primed for a good run this year after edging past Paris Masters runners-up Qureshi and Rojer in one hour and 33 minutes.