Paes-Bopanna in semis; Bhupathi’s Wimbledon over

London, July 3 (IANS) India’s Leander Paes and his Czech partner Radek Stepanek entered the men’s doubles semifinals at the all-England lawn tennis championships, as have Rohan Bopanna and Frenchman Eduoard Roger-Vasselin. The only Indian who failed to make the grade was Mahesh Bhupathi along with his Austrian partner Julian Knowle.

Fourth-seeded Paes and Stepanek rallied after losing the first set against 11th-seeded Serb Nenad Zimonjic and Frenchman Julian Benneteau, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4. Bopanna and Roger-Vasselin upset sixth-seeded Robert Lindstedt of Sweden and Canadian Daniel Nestor in a gruelling five-setter, 7-5, 7-6 (3), 6-7 (4), 6-7 (3), 6-2, here last night.

Bhupathi, who had announced at the beginning of the year that this would be his last ATP Tour, and Knowle lost to the Bryan twins from the US, Bob and Mike, in three straight tie-break sets, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4).

In the mixed doubles, India had a mixed day with its top woman player Sania Mirza and her Romanian partner Horia Tecau justifying their second seeding by winning their second round against German pair Julia Georges and Martin Emmrich 6-3, 6-4, while Paes and his Chinese partner Saisai Zheng lost to American Eric Butorac and France’s Alize Cornet, 3-6, 3-6.

Paes and Stepanek lost the first set but steadied themselves to take the next three in a match that lasted two hours and 39 minutes. Paes and Stepanek will now take on the winners of the match between Ivan Dodig (Croatia)-Marcelo Melo (Brazil) and James Blake (US)-Jurgen Melzer (Austria).

Bopanna and Roger-Vasselin, who had earlier put out third-seeded Alexander Peya and Brazilian Bruno Soares, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 (5), won their rain-affected five-setter against Lindstedt and Nestor in two hours and 45 minutes.

Bopanna, who was in the semis at the US Open twice in 2010 and 2011, will be playing for a place in the final for the first time here. They run into top seeds Bryan twins.

Bhupathi, partnering with Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova, ended his Wimbledon career after losing in the first round of the mixed doubles to Knowles and German Sabine Lisicki, who had upset top seed Serena Williams on her way to the singles semifinals.

Sania and Tecau, a doubles exponent, gave a thoroughly professional performance in beating Georges and Emmrich.

Sania and Tecau will next play Butorac and Cornet, who hardly allowed Paes and Zheng to have a look in.

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