NIRUPAMA, PAES TRIP AT FINAL HURDLE 

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By The Telegraph Online in Calcutta
  • Published 13.01.01
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Calcutta, Jan. 13 : Leander Paes and Nirupama Vaidyanathan fell a set short of qualifying for the Australian Open main draw. The top male and female players of India both lost their final-round qualifying matches in three sets, according to information received from Melbourne. Paes, who is keen to improve his singles ranking this year, dropped five games in a row to go down 6-3, 5-7, 3-6 to South African Marcos Ondruska. The Indian led 3-1 and had two chances to go double-break up in the final set. But it wasn't his day. He saved two match-points before bowing to a an opponent he had beaten to clinch the junior Wimbledon crown 10 years ago. The 27-year-old Calcuttan had earlier beaten South Korean Yong Ill Yoon 6-4, 7-5 and South African Justin Bower 6-3, 6-4. Nirupama, too, had started very promisingly earlier this week. She ousted Aussie Nadia Johnston 6-3, 6-4 before shocking top seed Alison Bradshaw (US) 6-3, 7-5. In the final match, she lost 5-7, 6-2, 2-6 to Frenchwoman Alexandra Fusai.