Dashed hopes: Lee-Hesh lose out on bronze

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/P/Paesbhupathi.jpg' class='caption'> Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi lost out on the bronze medal in Athens. The Indian duo was beaten by the Croatian team of Mario Ancic and Ivan Ljubicic.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:08 IST
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In what is probably India's biggest disappointment at the Olympics, Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi have lost out on the bronze medal in a marathon four-hour match. The Indian duo was beaten by the Croatian team of Mario Ancic and Ivan Ljubicic. The fifth seeded Indian pair were put under pressure by the unseeded Croat pair in the first set. Games went with serve till Ancic and Ljubicic clinched the set in the tie-breaker at 7-5, after overcoming a 2-5 deficit. Beaten narrowly in the first set, the Indians got right back into the game and won the second set 6-4. They were in trouble in the ninth game, but saved two break-points and won the game. Bhupathi then served out the tenth game as the Indians took the set when Ancic's return went long. The decider was a battle royal. With as many as 30 games being played, the Croats broke Paes on their first point in the 30th game to emerge triumphant and claim the bronze medal. Bitter disappointment If it was a bitter pill to swallow for Paes who had hoped to add the doubles medal to his singles bronze he won in Atlanta eight years ago, it was more so for Bhupathi who was keen to add an Olympic medal to his already glittering cupboard. At 30, Bhupathi might have played his last Olympics and it will leave the seven-time Grand Slam champion with an unfulfilled wish. But in terms of quality tennis and high intensity action, and sheer endurance alone, the match would rank among the best in the game's history. (With PTI inputs)

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