The Indo-American pair lost in straight sets 4-6, 6-7 (7) in 97 minutes after looking like taking the match into a decisive third set.

Bhupathi, 39, a former world number one doubles player and now ranked 36, had announced late last year that this would be his last year on the circuit and that he would only play in select tournaments.

Bhupathi is playing the mixed doubles here with Russian Elena Vesnina and they are seeded eighth.

The Indian did show sparks of his brilliance but that was not good enough to carry the day. Even Rajeev Ram was patchy and made crucial errors, particularly in the second set tie-break, though the Indo-American pair saved three match points (3-6).

Bhupathi and Ram had a set point at 7-6 but the latter’s backhand volley got the net cord and sailed out. Ram could not hold his serve on the fourth match point to bow out.