The Indian challenge in the men’s doubles section came to a disappointing end at the 2017 Wimbledon Championships on Friday with losses for Rohan Bopanna and the all-Indian pair of Purav Raja and Divij Sharan. For Raja and Sharan, it was a heartbreaking defeat as they battled for five gruelling sets only to come up agonisingly short 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(6), 8-10 against the seventh seeds Rajeev Ram and Raven Klaasen.
The French Open mixed doubles champion Bopanna and his French partner Edouard Roger-Vasselin too had to bite the dust against the home pair of Ken and Neal Skupski. The eighth seeds did grab a set but fell in the end, 6-7(6), 3-6, 7-6(5), 3-6.
Raja and Sharan squander match point
Sharan and Raja were left to rue their chances after serving for the match and even holding a match point. The two, who fell in the first round of the main draw twice before, managed to cross the first round hurdle for the first time this year.
They gave ample evidence of their fighting spirit even in Round 2 against the much-fancied pair of Ram and Klaasen, who have been winners on the ATP Tour twice this year.
Going two sets down could not throw them off their rhythm as they made a stunning comeback to take the next two sets, edging the seventh seeds in a thrilling tie-break in the fourth.
Even in the fifth, they battled hard after trailing 0-30 on their serve at 8-9 but it was not to be.
Raja and Sharan finished with 6 aces, 8 double faults and converted three out of the five break points they were presented with.
Bopanna and Roger-Vasselin thundered nine aces against just two double faults. A paltry break point conversion rate of 25% did them in. The Skupski brothers, in contrast, broke them thrice which made all the difference.
With these twin defeats, India’s campaign is now over in men’s doubles as earlier, Leander Paes and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan too lost their respective first round matches.
India’s title hunt will now continue in mixed doubles with Paes, Raja and Sharan all in action in that section later in the day.