Indian tennis players had contrasting fortunes at the ATP 250 tournament in Lyon, France on Thursday as Purav Raja won his match but Rohan Bopanna crashed out. The unseeded combine of Raja and Fabrice Martin put up a fabulous performance to oust the third seeds Julio Peralta and Horacio Zeballos 7-5, 6-4 on their way to the semi-finals.
Bopanna failed to make it a flawless day for India as he and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, seeded second, went down fighting 7-5, 4-6, 7-10 to the unseeded pair of Roman Jebavy and Matwe Middelkoop in 1 hour 17 minutes.
Raja thus joined his former doubles partner, Divij Sharan in the semi-finals. Earlier on Wednesday, Sharan and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez fought for 1 hour 55 minutes to edge the British pair of Ken and Neal Skupski 6-7(7), 7-6(8), 10-8.
In the last-four stage, Sharan and Garcia-Lopez will take on the Australian-American combine of Nick Kyrgios and Jack Sock while Raja and Martin will face Jebavy and Middelkoop. If the Indians win their respective matches, they will lock horns in the final.
The Indian players are trying to get some much-needed match practice before heading to Paris for the French Open, that starts on May 27. Bopanna, India’s highest ranked doubles player at 24th, has been struggling for a few weeks now since the end of the Barcelona Open in April. He and Roger-Vasselin made it to the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters and the quarter-finals at the Catalan capital, but haven’t been able to build on that run after that.
They suffered opening round defeats at the Madrid and the Rome Masters and managed to snap that losing streak at Lyon, where they bowed out after winning one round.
For the 72nd ranked Raja, this is his first semi-final on the ATP World Tour this year. As for Sharan, he has reached the semi-finals in an ATP Tour event for the fifth time in 2018 and will hope to make it to the final for the first time.