ATP Tour Final: Bhupathi-Bopanna keep alive semi-final hopes
London - India’s tennis doubles pair of Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna, fifth seeds, bounced back from their first round loss beating the Swedish-Romanian combine of Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecau 6-3, 5-7, 10-5 in a Group B match here on Wednesday to keep alive their semi-final hopes of the ATP Tour Finals.
It was the Indian duo’s first ever win over Lindstedt and Tecau, who won at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events in Madrid and Cincinnati this year.
The Indians, who lost their first match to Wimbledon champions Jonathan Marray and Frederik Nielsen, were in great form Wednesday. They raced to a 3-0 lead, breaking Lindstedt’s serve in the second game.
At 1-4, Tecau saved three break points, including a sudden death deuce, with some well-placed serves.
The Romanian-Swedish team broke Bhupathi in the next game to get back on serve, but Lindstedt suffered a second successive break of serve to leave Bopanna to clinch the 28-minute opener with a hold to 15.
Bhupathi, rock solid at the net, ended a short exchange with a forehand volley winner.
As the second set drew closer to a tie-break, with neither team looking likely to break serve, Lindstedt and Tecau raised their return games. Tecau forehand a forehand winner to thre feet of a net-rushing Bhupathi, serving at 5-6, 30/40, to capture the second set in 43 minutes.
In the match tie-break, Lindstedt and Tecau broke clear at 3-3, winning two straight points for 5-3. But Bhupathi and Bopanna responded, turning it around, with seven points in a row, ending with a Tecau backhand wide. The match lasted 84 minutes, with the Indians winning 46 of their 63 service points. They lifted their first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title Sunday at the BNP Paribas Masters.
Bhupathi and Bopanna started their World Tour campaign losing to No.8 seeds Marray andNielsen 6-4, 6-7(1), 12-10, after holding two match points on Tuesday.
Bhupathi is making his 12th appearance at the season-ending championships and has a 22-22 record, with four runner-up showings in 1997, 1999-2000, with Leander Paes and in 2010 with Max Mirnyi. Last year, Bopanna made his debut at the tournament with Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi, who is partnering Jean-Julien Rojer.
Paes and his Czech partner Radek Stepanek also began their campaign with a straight set win over seventh seeds Qureshi and Jean-Julien Roger, here.
The Indo-Czech pair got the better of Pakistan-Dutch combo, runners-up at Paris Masters last week, 6-4 7-5 in their opening Group A match.