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ATP Barcelona: Rohan Bopanna and Edouard Roger-Vasselin upset 2017 Australian Open champions

FEATURED COLUMNIST
News
241   //    25 Apr 2018, 01:00 IST

2018 Australian Open - Day 14
Rohan Bopanna

Indian tennis ace Rohan Bopanna and his French doubles partner, Edouard Roger-Vasselin made a strong start to their campaign at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell by knocking out the second seeds Henri Kontinen and John Peers from this ATP 500 tournament in Barcelona, Spain on Tuesday. The unseeded pair needed 1 hour 20 minutes to dismiss the 2017 Australian Open champions 7-6(7), 6-3 in this first round showdown.

Kontinen and Peers were the pair that had better statistics in the first set. They converted one out of the two break points that they earned, whereas the Indo-French combine could only make use of a solitary break point from their six chances.

But the unseeded duo managed to raise their level in the tie-break and eke out the opener. That bolstered their confidence and just one break of serve in the second set was enough for them to seal the win. Bopanna and Roger-Vasselin did not concede even a single break point in that set.

The Indo-French pair finished the match, winning 79% of their total service points. In contrast, the second seeds won only 59%. They were much better on the returns too, claiming 41% of their total return points to the Finnish-Australian pair’s 21%.

Next up for Bopanna and Roger-Vasselin are the Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, whom they got the better of in the quarter-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters just last week.

The French-Indian pairing has bounced back on claycourts after suffering quite a few losses in the hardcourt swing. At Monte Carlo they made it to the semi-finals, losing narrowly to the reigning Australian Open champions Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic in the match tie-break.

Indians march on at Anning Challenger

The 38-year-old Bopanna was not the only Indian making merry on Tuesday. At the Anning Challenger in China, Indian qualifier Sasi Kumar Mukund stunned the fifth seed Quentin Halys 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 to enter the second round.

He was joined by two other Indians. Fellow qualifier N Sriram Balaji knocked out home favourite Zhe Li, who is around 300 places above the 627th ranked Indian. Balaji battled for 2 hours 32 minutes to register a 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-4 win over the Chinese.

India’s Davis Cup hero Prajnesh Gunneswaran notched up a comfortable 6-2, 6-1 victory over France’s Hugo Grenier.

However, Vishnu Vardhan did not enjoy the same good fortunes and went down fighting 6-3, 6-7(4), 2-6 to Egypt’s Mohamed Safwat.

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FEATURED COLUMNIST
A freelance journalist based in Kolkata who is a diehard Rafael Nadal fan. She is also extremely passionate about India’s progress in sports and hopes to throw light on India’s unsung sports heroes through her articles. When not screaming her lungs out in support of her favourite sports stars, she can be seen reading, watching movies or immersed in planning her next travel destination!
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