In the nearly sweltering heat of day four, the doubles tournament at the All England Club was well underway, with former finalists Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecau among the participants.
Two-time former finalists into round of 32
Last year's beaten finalists, Lindstedt and Tecau, beat Lucas Dhlouhy and Michal Mertinak 7-6(7), 7-6(5), 7-6(4) in a nearly three-hour match. With success at the All England Club in 2010, too, when they also lost in the final, the No.5 seeds pulled out today’s victory by blasting groundstrokes, striking powerfully placed serves and employing the delicate touch needed to dictate play with biting volleys.
Striking 18 winners in all, Lindstedt and Tecau proved more poised than their opponents in the final tiebreak of the match. Things started poorly for the pair, however, as a volley winner was placed neatly between their feet when both players were at net. With that momentary lapse of movement, the eight-time title winners gave their opponents the hold of serve, which was met with cheers from the crowd.
Lindstedt and Tecau, who came to the All England Club having collected the tune-up title at s-Hertogenbosch, were not to be kept off guard much longer. Lindstedt replied to the momentary lapse in form by powering a kick serve above his opponents’ shoulders in the next point. Met with a weak reply, the serve set up Tecau to strike a smash, bringing the score to one-all.
Momentum now minted for the two men, the duo claimed five straight points using a combination of smashes, forehand winners and an angled backhand volley. Despite holding match points, however, the match was not yet over. What appeared to be a few nerves took over and Dhlouhy and Mertinak made a final fight to take the score to 6-4.
Employing another big serve, the Swedish Lindstedt, whose vibrant personality contrasted with his mostly impassive partner throughout the match, set up Tecau to smash a forehand volley winner into the stands. Punctuating the victory, the vivacious Lindstedt yelled out a loud “C’mon” before the pair briskly bolted from the court and into the second round.
Indian team advances to second round
Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna, quarter-finalists at Queen’s Club, and the No. 7 seeds here, advanced to the second round with a straight sets win over Marcel Felder and Malek Jaziri.
After their match, the two talked to the press. About playing at Wimbledon, which is their first time together, Bopanna said, “I think for me I have always watched, while growing up...It's always a great feeling coming here and playing. Grass being my favourite surface, it's really exciting.” He continued, “It gets me motivated to do very well here at this tournament.”
Mahesh Bhupathi, meanwhile, said, “It's amazing. It never gets old. As many times as I have been here, it's always special to play that first match especially. Now that we have got some rhythm under our belt, hopefully we can keep playing well.”
Top seeds advance in search of second straight major title
Top seeds Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor, who recently claimed their second Roland Garros title, defeated the American duo of Donald Young and Michael Russell in four sets. Employing a clean, attacking style of tennis together, the two men hit 18 winners and committed only four errors to seal the first round victory.
With four titles total this year, the No.1 seeds displayed fine form on grass already by taking the Queen’s Club championship over Bob and Mike Bryan, who are searching for their record-breaking Grand Slam title No.12. Along the way to the win, Mirnyi and Nestor notably defeated Bhupathi and Bopanna in straight sets in the tune-up event’s quarter-finals.
For Mirnyi and Nestor, the victory in first round equals their 2011 performance at the All England Club when, as the No. 3 players in the world, they succumbed to Kevin Anderson and Julian Knowle 6-7(2), 6-7(7), 3-6.
Up next for the pair is a familiar face in Knowle, who this year is paired with Daniele Bracciali.