India's Rohan Bopanna and Pakistan's Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi wasted too many opportunities to go down 6-7(6), 3-6 to second seeds Michael Llodra of France and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia in a dramatic Group B match of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals here on Tuesday.
Both the pairs had lost their opening round matches. With Bopanna and Qureshi losing two in two, it is virtually the end of road for the fifth seeded Indo-Pak Express.
Bopanna and Qureshi had beaten Llodra and Zimonjic at the recent BNP Paribas Masters, en route to the Paris title, but could not stretch their winning run here.
The first set went with serve with holds till 4-4, when three mistimed volleys put Llodra under pressure on serve. Llodra and Zimonjic saved one break point, but at sudden death deuce, Bopanna ripped a backhand winner down the line past Zimonjic.
In the next game, Qureshi over-hit a smash long of the baseline at set point, 40/30. In the sudden-death decider, Llodra hit a backhand winner past Bopanna for 5-5.
The set was finally decided on a tie-break. Llodra and Zimonjic took a 2-0 lead, before Bopanna and Qureshi won six straight points to 6-2. They squandered three set point chances.
Bopanna and Qureshi then lost their concentration. At 6-5, Bopanna lob forehand went inside the video scoreboard above the Centre Court. Zimonjic thought he and Llodra had won the point, but the ball dropped into play and Llodra fired a smash winner at Qureshi. After consultation with the umpire and the ATP supervisor, the point was replayed. Llodra and Zimonjic completed their streak of six points to win the 50-minute set, when Bopanna hit a forehand volley long.
In the second set, Llodra and Zimonjic created one break point opportunity in the third game and the latter hit a backhand return winner past a net-rushing Bopanna.
The Indian then went on to strike two unreturned serves to hold for 2-1.
Qureshi came under fire at 2-2, dropping his serve. After Zimonjic held to love for a
5-3 lead, Qureshi double-faulted twice to lose his serve for the third time in the match that last 84 minutes.
They drop to a 38-25 season record, highlighted by three titles. The pair also lost their round-robin opener to Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor on Sunday.