Tennis

Raonic, Lopez upset Nestor, Bhupathi in Indian Wells doubles

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Associated Press
3/9/2013 5:26:43 PM
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INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., and Spain's Feliciano Lopez beat the third-seeded team of Toronto's Daniel Nestor and India's Mahesh Bhupathi 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) on Saturday to begin the BNP Paribas Masters with an upset doubles win.

The match between Canadian Davis Cup teammates lasted 74 minutes with the Raonic team firing 14 aces and holding off two break points.

Raonic was cautious in victory after beating the compatriot who has served as a tennis mentor.

"Danny's been really good to me and helped me a bunch," said Raonic. "I had never played him in doubles so I was a bit extra motivated."

Nestor admitted that his new team never overcame an early break of serve against a pairing that last played together at the event in 2011.

"It was tough not to get off to a good start," said Nestor. "I didn't hit my first serve well. We had a chance to break back in the second set. We had a few chances on the Lopez serve in the second set, but he aced me.

"They played well, they're tough. They are serving huge so you have to be perfect on returns."

The early defeat was the fourth time since the 2007 BNP Paribas Masters that the 40-year-old Nestor has lost in doubles at the event in the first round. He reached the semifinals in 2012 and was defeated in an opening match in 2011 by Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka.

Nestor and Mark Knowles won the title in 2006.

The season has so far been patchy for Nestor and Bhupathi, who only teamed up in January, The pair of veterans produced their best result so far with a semifinal in Memphis last month after a modest third round at the Australian Open and quarter-finals in Sydney and Chennai.

Raonic, the 17th seed in singles, was playing his first doubles match since the first week of the season in Brisbane.

His team won the opening set but had to get through a tiebreaker for victory, with Nestor and Bhupathi saving three of five match points before losing on Raonic's serve winner.

Earlier, Raonic received a walkover a day before his singles start in the second round when French opponent Michael Llodra withdrew with a hip flexor injury.

That bit of luck leaves Raonic with more practise days to fill as he awaits an opponent from 12th seed Marin Cilic of Croatia and Spaniard Albert Ramos.

"It's a mixed feeling, I've not played a match for awhile," said Raonic. "I needed to get a match in, but it's also nice to go through as well."

Milos Raonic  (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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