The Indian duo of Sania Mirza and Prarthana Thombare went down fighting to Shuai Peng and Shuai Zhang of China in the first round of the women’s doubles competition at the Olympic Tennis Centre at Rio de Janeiro.
Sania and Prarthana gave a good account of themselves before going down 6-7 (6), 7-5, 5-7 in two hours and 44 minutes.
The Indian duo was off to a good start and took a 2-0 lead in the first set. But Peng and Zhang fought back to win the next two games and pull level at 2-2.
The Chinese then held serve to take a 3-2 lead. It was a neck to neck affair before Sania and Thombare took a 5-4 lead and were serving for the set.
Peng and Zhang however, broke the Indians’ serve to draw level at 5-5 and stay alive in the set. The issue rolled into the tie-breaker which saw the Chinese prevail.
In the second set, the Indian duo displayed brilliant form to build up a 4-1 lead. They soon increased their advantage to 5-2 before Peng and Zhang fought back by winning three consecutive to level the scores at 5-5.
Not to be outdone, the Indians won the next two games to win the second set and take the issue into the decisive third set.
The Chinese pair enjoyed a good start in the third set, opening up a 2-0 lead. But Sania and Prarthana fought back to earn a break of serve to draw level at 3-3. They then held serve to go into the lead.
It continued to be a roller coaster affair till Peng and Zhang earned a service break of their own to take the lead at 5-4. The Indians however, promptly broke back to tie the scores at 5-5.
But the Chinese managed to pull out that last gasp effort in the closing stages to win the next two games to seal the set and the match.