Rio Olympic: Sania-Prarthana up against Chinese in opening round
DECCAN CHRONICLE | DC Correspondent
Rio de Janeiro: Indian tennis pair of Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna was on Thursday pitted against the Polish team of Marcin Matkowski and Lukasz Kubot in the first round of the men’s doubles event of the Rio Olympic Games, starting Saturday. Ranked 55 in the world, legendary Paes will become the first tennis player in history to appear in seven Olympics when he steps on to the court for his first round contest along with Bopanna. Paes and Bopanna, ranked 15 in the world, have played only one match together this season in run up to the Games but Kubot (ranked 25) and Matkowski (ranked 27) have played many a matches in the first half of the season together. Their best performance has been a runners-up finish at the Estoril Open in Portugal.
Paes and Bopanna combined to win the doubles-rubber in the recent Davis Cup tie against Korea in Chandigarh. Paes, winner of 18 Grand Slam titles, had won a singles bronze at the 1996 Atlanta Games and it is his last chance to win another Olympic medal. In the women’s doubles, world number one Sania Mirza and Prarthana Thombare find Chinese pair of Peng Shuai and Shuai Zhang as their first round opponents. The mixed doubles draw, where India will be a strong contender with Sania and Bopanna competing, has not been made yet.