The constant cheers emanating from Centre Court vied, with increasing success, for the attention of the smattering of a crowd that had turned up to watch the doubles matches at the outer courts.

A reminder of what they were missing out on; each time the crowds affirmation of play from the Marin Cilic-Marcel Granollers match rent the air, the scattered doubles aficionados let their eyes stare into space, in the general direction of the cheers, trying to divine which party had the upper hand.

Their task, with the match at hand, where Rajeev Ram and Eric Butorac were getting their title defence started, was less demanding on their extra sensory perception. The American pair got off to a bright start when they nailed the first set with a convincing 6-3 score line.

Up a break in the second, the lanky Eric Butorac, who bore an uncanny resemblance to a Paul Scholes reflecting in the hall of mirrors, misjudged a few shots. The momentum changed hands, as easily as a suitcase of contraband in the depths of a ghetto.

The Swedish pair of Stanislas Warwikna and Yves Allegro had probably lost their supporters within the labyrinthine entrance gates to the match at the centre court, for in the middle of a well contested first set between Cilic and Granollers, a kite with the Swedish national flag fluttered gently by, settling on the side of the courts.

The few that did make it, however, had reason to cheer. The increased player density that doubles play offers, and the corresponding abundance of decisive shot-making opportunity kept the meagre crowd entertained for the hour or so the match lasted.

The Swiss pair called all the shots in the super tiebreak to finish off the contest. The status of a native that the crowd and the media had unconditionally accorded Rajeev Ram called for the descent of gloom, and it came down but for a few minutes as the merry fair moved on to the centre court, where Somdev warmed up for his match.

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