The Indian doubles experts had a great day at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Wednesday as both Rohan Bopanna and Leander Paes won their respective matches. Bopanna and his Polish partner Marcin Matkowski beat fellow unseeded combine Florin Mergea and Viktor Troicki, 6-3, 6-4 to make it through to the semi-finals. Paes and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain too had a comfortable outing in their first round match and easily beat the qualifying team of James Cerretani and Philipp Oswald, 6-2, 6-4.
Bopanna and Matkowski had a big win on Tuesday as they came back from a set down to edge the second seeds Ivan Dodig and Marcel Granollers, 5-7, 6-3, 11-9 en route to the quarter-finals. Bopanna had started the 2017 season on a good note, winning the title at Chennai alongside Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan.
Since then, however, he had been a bit inconsistent but the familiar conditions in this Middle Eastern city definitely brought out the best in him. The former World No. 3 Bopanna had been a champion at this event three times in the last five years which is why it was not a surprise to see him performing so well.
Facing Mergea was tricky as the Romanian had been the Indian’s former doubles partner with whom he had won two titles, besides reaching five other finals. But Bopanna and Matkowski were spot on right from the beginning and broke once in each set to notch up the win in just 56 minutes.
As for Leander, he came into this tournament after toppling Mike and Bob Bryan at the Delray Beach Open quarter-finals last week. That huge win seems to have given the evergreen Indian icon some confidence after his struggles in the early part of the season.
He and Garcia-Lopez converted four out of their five break point opportunities to grab the win in 1 hour 1 minute.
Chance of a Bopanna vs Paes face-off
Bopanna and Matkowski’s semi-finals opponents are still undecided. There can be an intriguing face-off between Bopanna and Paes, should the latter and Garcia-Lopez beat the third-seeded duo of Daniel Nestor and Edouard Roger-Vasselin in the quarter-finals.
Leander and Garcia-Lopez play their last-eight match on Thursday.Published 02 Mar 2017, 15:07 IST