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Federer/Wawrinka Open Gold Medal Defence With Hard-Fought Win

London, England

Vardhan/Paes© Getty ImagesIndia's Vishnu Vardhan and Leander Paes teamed for a first-round win Monday at the Olympics.

Reigning doubles gold medalists Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka overcame Japan’s Kei Nishikori and Go Soeda 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-4 in their opener Monday at the London 2012 Olympics Tennis Event.

Nishikori and Soeda claimed the first set in the tie-break after facing down four break points, but dropped serve early in the second and third sets to concede their lead. They threatened to draw level as Federer served for the victory, but the Swiss duo came up with a save on break point and clinched the win on their second match point opportunity after two hours and 16 minutes.

Federer and Wawrinka will next face Israelis Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram.

Spaniards David Ferrer and Feliciano Lopez became the first doubles team to reach the quarter-finals. Ferrer and Lopez recorded a 6-3, 3-6, 11-9 victory over Austrians Jurgen Melzer and Alexander Peya in two hours and 19 minutes.

"It's a great feeling," said Lopez. "We didn't expect to play that good and now we are in the quarter-finals, we are very happy." Ferrer said, "I won two doubles titles seven years ago and maybe this week, I am playing my best tennis in doubles."

Seventh-seeded Indians Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna were made to work hard for their second-round berth. Bhupathi and Bopanna scrapped past Belarusians Alexander Bury and Max Mirnyi 7-6(4), 6-7(4), 8-6 in two hours and 26 minutes, winning four more total points (120-116).

“We didn’t want to be in that situation,” said Bhupathi. “We should have closed it out in two sets. We are just happy with the win.” They will next meet Frenchmen Julien Benneteau and Richard Gasquet.

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Swedes Johan Brunstrom and Robert Lindstedt saved all four break points they faced to knock out eighth-seeded Serbians Novak Djokovic and Viktor Troicki 7-6(8), 6-3 in 85 minutes.

“Of course, it is an unbelievable feeling, it is the first Olympics for both of us,” said Brunstrom. “From the beginning we had a lot of chances and we put pressure on them, then it was great to have to serve for the match.”

Another Serbian duo, No. 3 seeds Janko Tipsarevic and Nenad Zimonjic, advanced with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Slovakians Martin Klizan and Lukas Lacko.

Canadians Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil overcame Romanians Horia Tecau and Adrian Ungur 6-3, 7-6(9). Nestor, who first competed at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, said on his fifth appearance at an Olympic tennis event, “The Olympics is very special. This is my fifth and last.

“I wouldn’t be here otherwise, competing, getting out there representing my country. I like to challenge myself against the top players and the opportunity to win a medal drives me on.”

Indians Leander Paes, competing at his sixth Olympic Games, and Vishnu Vardhan set up a second-round meeting with second-seeded Frenchmen Michael Llodra and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after they defeated Dutch pair Robin Haase and Jean-Julien Rojer 7-6(1), 4-6, 6-2 in one hour and 52 minutes.

“Vishnu and I have been working really hard for the past three weeks,” said Paes. “Vish played unbelievable well, including two backhand returns on break points. My role was to be myself. Vish is, I think, the 94th partner I’ve had in men’s doubles. Sometimes you lead on the court, sometimes you follow. But let’s not get carried away, we have a tough match next.”

Vardhan admitted, “Rick Leach [Paes’ coach] told me to be aggressive and let Leander take charge. When we got onto the court, we were aggressive and hit big.”

Vardhan's Olympic Odyssey

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