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Divij Sharan and Purav Raja capture Manchester Challenger

This is the first title of the season for the Indian pair.

Divij Sharan (left) and Purav Raja with the Manchester Challenger trophy
Divij Sharan (left) and Purav Raja with the Manchester Challenger trophy

Leander Paes was not the only player making Indian tennis proud last weekend. On the other side of the English Channel, Divij Sharan and Purav Raja too brought joy to Indian fans by clinching the €42,500 Aegon Manchester Trophy Challenger doubles title on Sunday.

The unseeded Indian pair saved three match points to upset the second seeds Ken Skupski and Neal Skupski of Britain 6-3, 3-6, 11-9 in the final of this grasscourt tournament. This is the ninth title for Divij at Challenger level or higher while for Purav, this is his eighth triumph at the same stage.

Giant-killing run for Divij and Purav

They had been on a giant-killing run the whole week that gave them their first title of the season. In their opener, they toppled the third seeds consisting of former Wimbledon champion Jonathan Marray and his Canadian partner Adil Shamsadin, 6-3, 7-6(5).

In the quarter-finals, they got the better of another Wimbledon winner Frederik Nielsen and his Dutch teammate Igor Sijsling, 6-0, 6-2 to set up a meeting with the top seeds Marcus Daniell and Andreas Siljestrom.

It was a tight two-setter which the Indians won 7-5, 7-6(3) to advance to the final.

Sharan and Raja, who used to play together till 2014 before parting ways, reunited this year and have immediately met with success. The pair, who had qualified for 2013 Wimbledon doubles, made it to the St. Joseph’s/Candler Savannah Challenger in April where they lost to the American pair of Brian Baker and Ryan Harrison, 7-5 6-7(4) 8-10.

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