Tata Open Maharashtra: Bopanna-Sharan overcome Paes-Varela Challenge to Enter Semis

Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan
Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan will take on Ivan Dodig (Croatia)and Simone Bolelli (Italy) in the semi-finals today. Photo Courtesy: Tata Open

Indian duo of Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan battled fiercely for 24 minutes in the Super Tiebreaker to win the quarter-final 6(4)-7, 6-4, 17-15

In a match laced with constant momentum shifts and surprises, top seeds Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan advanced to the semi-finals of the Tata Open Maharashtra here on Thursday. The Indian duo came back from a set down to defeat Leander Paes and Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela 6(4)-7, 6-4, 17-15.

Bopanna started off strong as he held his service game to love and bagged the first game. Leander was equal to the task— serving hard and fast to equal the scores 1-1.

The first difficult hold of the match arrived in the fifth game when Bopanna staged a near-perfect bailout to clinch the game from 15-40 and make it 3-2.

Paes and Varela had two more opportunities to bag a break point in game seven. The Indian-Mexican duo complemented each other extremely well to take a 15-40 lead in the game. While Paes was the backbone of the defense with strong returns, Varela was at the heart of the offense with spectacular volleys and over-head smashes.

However, the pair squandered it with an unforced error at 40-all. Both the pairs held their serves and Varela’s commanding service game in the 12th forced the set into a tie-breaker.

The mini-break of Bopanna’s serve at 4-4 proved to be the defining moment as Paes rifled in two huge serves next to seal the tie-breaker 7-5 and the set 7-6.

The fag end of the first half had seen the resurgence of Divij Sharan. He began to look more confident at the net which helped the pair attack better,

They carried that momentum in the second set , breaking Paes’ serve in the third game. Paes and Varela broke Sharan right after to make it 2-2.

The match saw another round consecutive of breaks from games seven to nine, with the top-seeded pair clinching two. At 5-4, Bopanna held to love help the Indian pair take the second set 6-4 and force a super tiebreaker.

Bopanna helped the Indian pair take a 3-0 lead with two big serves, but the Indian-Mexican pair were quick to capitalize on his errors at the net to keep them in the hunt at 4-4.

The temperatures on Court 1 rose at 8-8 when Bopanna thought Paes’ traveled long, bu the umpire disagreed and called it right and called it in. The 38-year-old was extremely vocal about the call and argued with the chair umpire for almost two minutes but to no avail.

Now serving to save the match, Bopanna showed great composure by serving an ace to level the scores. Eventually, Bopanna fought tooth and nail, saving 6 match points to win the super tiebreaker 17-15 after 24 minutes.

Anderson, Simon To Square Off In Semis

Top seed Kevin Anderson will take on the defending champion Gilles Simon later today for a berth in finals.

Earlier yesterday, Kevin Anderson locked horns with seventh seed Jaume Munar and defeated the Spaniard 6-3,6-3 in straight sets. The South African sailed through the contest as the 21-year-old Rafael Nadal Academy product was of no match to the World No.6.

In the following match, World No.30 Gilles Simon was given a run for his money by fifth seed Benoit Paire in an all-French showdown. Paire swept through the first set 6-3 and forced the second set into a tie-breaker. He had a chance to wrap up the game in straight sets, but a series of altercations with the chair umpire disturbed his rhythm. Simon took the tie-breaker 7-6 and the last set 6-4 to complete a 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-4 victory.

Day 4 Results:

Singles:

  • Ivo Karlovic bt. Ernests Gulbis 7-6(5), 7-6(5)
  • Steve Darcis bt. Malek Jaziri 7-5, 6-2
  • Kevin Anderson bt. Jaume Munar 6-3, 6-3
  • Gilles Simon bt. Benoit Paire 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-4.

Doubles:

  • Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan bt. Leander Paes and Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela 6(4)-7, 6-4, 17-15
  • Luke Bambridge and Jonny O’Mara bt. Gerard Granollers and Marcel Granollers 6-4, 3-6, 10-6
  • Ivan Dodig and Simone Bolelli bt. Andreas Mies and Kevin Krawietz 6-2, 6-4

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Shivansh Gupta

Shivansh Gupta

Sports journalist working towards bringing unsung heroes of Indian sports into the limelight and helping them grab the attention and respect they deserve. A foodie and a sports fanatic since childhood, Shivansh would prefer watching an old match (from any sport) over a hit movie or series. Shivansh has spent his formative years in Tanzania before shifting to Pune for college
Shivansh Gupta

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