Asian Games 2018: Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan clinch gold; Prajnesh Gunneswaran settles for bronze
Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan capped a wonderful week for Indian tennis with a gold medal in men’s doubles at the Asian Games 2018 in Palembang, Indonesia on Friday. The top seeds lived up to the expectations when they pummelled the Kazakh pair of Aleksander Bublik and Denis Yevseyev 6-3, 6-4 in a one-sided final that lasted just 52 minutes.
This is the fourth time that India clinched the yellow metal in this category to add to the gold medals won by Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi in 2002 and 2006, and Somdevvarman and Sanam Singh in 2010.
In 2014, Indian had to be content with the silver medal when Singh and Saketh Myneni went down to Korea.
While this was the first ever medal from the Asian Games for the 38-year-old Bopanna, Sharan got his second Asian Games medal. Four years ago, he had won the bronze in men’s doubles alongside Yuki Bhambri.
The final was a sharp contrast from the marathon that the Indians were involved in in the semi-finals a day before. In the summit clash, they earned a break in each set to go up 4-1 and 5-3 in the first and the second sets respectively. That was all they needed to seal the win.
For Bopanna, this was a glorious return to competition as he had taken a break since Wimbledon to recover from a pinched nerve.
In men’s singles, Prajnesh Gunneswaran was completely outplayed by an opponent ranked higher and with more experience of playing at the top level. World No. 75 Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan, who had accounted for Novak Djokovic at the 2017 Australian Open, won the semi-final 6-2, 6-2.
With that loss, the 161st ranked Gunneswaran brought India’s second bronze medal from singles a day after Ankita Raina too did the same. India thus finished their tennis campaign with one gold and two bronze medals.