Fifth seeds Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna won their first round-robin match in Group B on Wednesday with a 6-3, 5-7, 10-5 victory over fourth seeds Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecau at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
It was the Indians first ever win over Lindstedt and Tecau, who won ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events in Madrid and Cincinnati this year.
The Indians raced to a 3-0 lead, breaking Lindstedt's serve in the second game. At 1-4, Tecau saved three break points, including a sudden death deuce, with some well-placed serves.
The Romanian-Swedish team broke Bhupathi in the next game to get back on serve, but Lindstedt suffered a second successive break of serve to leave Bopanna to clinch the 28-minute opener with a hold of 15.
Bhupathi, rock solid at the net, ended a short exchange with a forehand volley winner.
As the second set drew closer to a tie-break, with neither team looking likely to break serve, Lindstedt and Tecau raised their return games.
Tecau struck a forehand winner to the feet of a net-rushing Bhupathi, serving at 5-6, 30/40, to capture the second set in 43 minutes.
In the Match tie-break, Lindstedt and Tecau broke clear at 3-3, winning two straight points in 5-3. But Bhupathi and Bopanna responded, turning it around, with seven points in a row, ending with a Tecau backhand wide. The match lasted 84 minutes, with the Indians winning 46 of their 63 service points. They lifted their first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title on Sunday at the BNP Paribas Masters.
Bhupathi and Bopanna lost to No 8 seeds Jonathan Marray and Frederik Nielsen 6-4, 6-7(1), 12-10, after holding two match points on Tuesday. Bhupathi is making his 12th appearance at the season-ending championships and has a 22-22 record, with four runner-up showings in 1997, 1999-2000, with Leander Paes and in 2010 with Max Mirnyi. Last year, Bopanna made his debut at the tournament with Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi, who is partnering Jean-Julien Rojer.
Lindstedt and Tecau drop to 0-2 in group play, having lost to second seeds and defending champions Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor 4-6, 7-6(1), 12-10. They squandered one match point at 9-8 in the Match tie-break. The pair drop to 44-21 on the season, which includes four titles from seven finals. They will both be teaming up with new partners in 2013.