India’s top men’s doubles player Rohan Bopanna and partner Daniel Nestor, seeded sixth at the Shanghai Masters, were ousted in their second round men’s doubles match against the Croat pair of Marin Cilic and Mate Pavic, who won 5-7, 6-4 (10-8) in a deciding tiebreak today.
Bopanna renewed his partnership with Nestor last month following a split from Romania's Florin Mergea. He then came together with compatriot Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, with the all-Indian combine losing to Adil Shamasdin and Andreas Siljestrom in their quarter-final match at the Chengdu Open, after beating the Spanish-Argentinian combine of Feliciano Lopez and Juan Monaco in straight sets.
Today marked Bopanna’s second match with Nestor this year; the pair came together at the recently concluded China Open, where they were seeded third, but lost out to the unseeded all-Spanish pair of Rafael Nadal and Pablo Carreno Busta in straight sets.
The pair have been doubles partners before, but split in 2015 with Bopanna declaring that Nestor “wanted a change,” following which the Indian came together with Mergea, and with the Romanian moved to the ATP Top 10 in the doubles.
Bopanna and Nestor, among the oldest and most experienced doubles players in the draw, showed flashes of brilliance today, with Bopanna hitting some strong forehands towards Pavic and Cilic, but eventually succumbing to the Croat pair’s relentless game.
There was not much dividing the two doubles pairs today, with Bopanna and Nestor putting in a strong performance to break their rivals to scalp the first set, with the Croat pair unable to even take them to break point.
The second set saw a couple of crucial points lost out as Nestor found the net, and a couple of high-speed aces from Pavic and Cilic ensured the match went to a 10-point tiebreak.
Cilic and Pavic had initially dominated the tiebreak, but a strong comeback from their older rivals saw Bopanna and Nestor go from 3-8 down to equalize at 8-8, still making it anybody’s game.
Taking the mini-break at a crucial juncture, Cilic and Pavic sealed the match with a 10-8 tiebreak win to progress to Round 3.
Cilic, who progresses in the doubles, lost out in the singles yesterday to German teenager Alexander Zverev in a three set encounter in his opener here, losing 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.