ATP Tashkent Challenger: India’s Divij Sharan-Purav Raja rally to reach final
The Indian men’s doubles pair of Divij Sharan and Purav Raja offered a spirited fightback and rallied from a set down to put it across the Israeli pair of Dudi Sela and Amir Weintraub 5-7, 6-3, 13-11 to sneak into the final of the $125K ATP Tashkent Challenger in Uzbekistan.
The Sharan-Raja combo, seeded second in the tournament, fought a needle contest against Sela and Weintrab with both pairs giving nothing away.
The match turned into a battle of attrition with the scoreline reading 5-5 in the opening set. The Israeli marched ahead breaking the serve of the Indians in the eleventh game, which proved crucial in the end as they held their serve in the next game to clinch the opening game at 7-5.
Losing the opening set narrowly often knocks the stuffing out of a pair, but the Sharan-Raja duo were in no mood to throw in the towel. They grew more determined in the second set, serving solidly and covering the court well.
The Indian pair effected the crucial break of serve and were sitty pretty with a 5-3 lead. The Sharan-Raja again breached the Israeli pair’s serve in the ninth game to be on level terms winning the set at 6-3.
The Indian pair showed nerves of steel in the decider, winning it at 13-11.
The Sharan-Raja combo will play the winner of the other semifinal between the Russian pair of Mikhail Elgin and Teimuraz Gabashvili and the American-Candian pair of James Cerretani and Adil Shamasdin.
The Indian pair earlier put it across the wild card Uzbek and Tunisian pair of Farrukh Dustov and Malek Jaziri 7-5, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.
The duo had scraped past the Italian pair of Andrea Arnaboldi and Thomas Fabbiano 5-7, 6-3, 10-3 in the first round.
It may be worth recalling the Sharan-Raja pair won their first ATP doubles crown when they pocketed the Bogota tournament in July this year. They had earlier finished runners-up in the ATP Johannesburg Challenger in June.