'Indian Express' eye bronze medal

Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi are now eyeing the bronze medal at the Athens Olympics.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:08 IST
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Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi might not have made it to the final but all is not lost for the Indian Express yet at the Olympic Games. Paes and Bhupathi, who were upset by the unseeded German duo Nicolas Kiefer and Rainer Schuettler 2-6 3-6 in the semifinals yesterday, can still fulfill their Olympic medal dreams by winning the men's doubles bronze. The fifth seeded Indian pair, who come together after a gap of more than two years, are playing Croatia's Mario Ancic and Ivan Ljubicic in the playoff match and leading 4-2. "The goal was to get the gold medal but now we have to try and get something. It was a disappointing day for us, we just could not get going. It happens sometimes," Bhupathi said after the match yesterday. The the team that did not drop a serve till the quarterfinals, went down in straight sets, leaving the Indian fans in a daze. Athens has been cruel to seeded players. If in singles we saw the premature exit of Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Carlos Moya and Venus Williams, the fate of doubles teams was no better. In fact, the Indians were the only seeded teams to reach the last-four stage. Yesterday's defeat, however, ended a fine streak by the Indian Express who remained undefeated since their Sydney Games defeat to the Woodies in 2000. It was only their second loss in 25 matches they have played for India in the last eight years. Should Paes, bronze winner in the singles event at Atlanta in 1996, and Bhupathi win today it would bring India its second tennis medal from the Olympics. Ancic and Ljubicic, who entered as wild cards and ousted the third seeded French pair Michael Llodra and Fabrice Santoro on the way, and whom Paes and Bhupathi have not played before, will be hoping to win Croatia its third tennis medal. (PTI)