Pune, Feb 5 (IANS) Defending doubles champion Divij Sharan and his partner Artem Sitak (New Zealand) pushed hard but lost in straight sets to the pair of Matthew Ebden and veteran Leander Paes (2-6, 6-7) in the Tata Maharashtra Open at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex here late on Tuesday night.
The Indo-Aussie pair raced to a 3-0 lead, prompting a response from Sharan and Sitak, who made a strong comeback to help register the first point for the duo, but eventually conceded the first set 2-6.
The second set was much closer, with the Sharan-Sitak duo displaying more cohesion, with Sharan pulling off some smart forehand returns. The set went for a tie-breaker, which was evenly contested but Ebden and Paes triumphed and progressed to the next round after 1hr and 26 minutes.
Divij Sharan, following the game, shared his thoughts, “We weren’t at our best today. We played better in the second set but unfortunately it didn’t happen today even though we have won in similar situations earlier. Sitak and I would like to wish Leander and Ebden all the best for the upcoming games, especially Leander, given that it’s going to be his last hurrah in India,” Sharan signed off.