Radek Stepanek of Czech Republic and Leander Paes of India celebrate during their Men’s Doubles third round match (Getty Images)
London, July 2: Veteran Leander Paes advanced to the men’s doubles quarterfinals of Wimbledon Championships after the Indian ace and his Czech Republic partner Radek Stepanek pulled off a hard-fought win here today. The fifth seeded Indo-Czech duo prevailed over The Netherlands’ Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau of Romania 6-4 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 7-5 in a match that lasted a little less than three hours at court number 3.
Paes and Stepanek started with a win, clinching the first set 6-4 in just 39 minutes, but their opponents struggled their way back as they stretched the second set to tie-breaker before winning it to draw level. However, the experienced pair found its rhythm back soon after and grabbed the next two sets, in 40 and 44 minutes each, to seal the third round match in its favour.
The Indo-Czech duo committed just two unforced errors to the six made by their opponents though Rojer and Tecau had more winners in 24. The victorious pair won 50 per cent of their points on the break. Partnering Cara Black, Paes had earlier lost his mixed doubles match to Eric Butorac and Timea Babos.
Earlier, Rohan Bopanna and Andrea Hlavackova saved all three break chances they faced against British team of Colin Fleming and Jocelyn Rae to progress to the pre-quarterfinals of the mixed doubles event. The seventh seeded Indo-Czech team brushed aside the spirited challenge of their unseeded opponents 6-4 7-5 in one hour and nine minutes in the second round.
Bopanna and Hlavackova broke their rivals one time in each set to record the win. Meanwhile, Sania Mirza and Horia Tecau, seeded sixth, were leading 4-3 in the opening set of their mixed doubles second round contest against Mate Pavic and Bojana Jovanovski when rain forced suspension of play.