Monte Carlo Masters: Rohan Bopanna and Pablo Cuevas upset fifth seeds to enter quarter-finals
Nadal and Djokovic win on a day of upsets.
Indian tennis ace Rohan Bopanna and Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay came back from a set down to knock out the fifth-seeded American-South African pair of Rajeev Ram and Raven Klaasen, 6(6)-7, 6-4, 10-6 en route to the quarter-finals of the 2017 Monte Carlo Masters in Monaco on Thursday.
They have a tough task up next as they take on top seeds and reigning Australian Open champions Henri Kontinen and John Peers for a place in the semi-finals.
Both teams were each broken once in the opening set after which Ram and Klaasen managed to edge the Indo-Uruguayan combine in the tie-break to grab a one-set lead. Bopanna and Cuevas made a strong comeback to make inroads into their opponents’ games twice in the second set while getting themselves broken once.
In the match tie-break, the unseeded team trailed the fifth seeds 3-4 initially. From 6-6, they broke away to take the next four points and finish the win in 1 hour 33 minutes.
Murray, Wawrinka knocked out on a day of upsets
Bopanna’s partner, Cuevas had double delight on Thursday. He scored an upset win in singles too by sending the third seed and former champion Stan Wawrinka home with a strong 6-4, 6-4 scoreline.
Cuevas did not face even a single break point and won 58% of the total points. In contrast, the three-time Grand Slam champion was broken twice – once in each set which was enough for the victory.
World No. 1 Andy Murray too joined the Swiss on the sidelines after he squandered a 4-0 lead in the decider against the 15th seeded Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain to slump to a shock 6-2, 2-6, 5-7 defeat. This was the Scot’s second match since resuming competitive play after an elbow injury.
Ramos-Vinolas hit back after falling behind two breaks of serve in the deciding set to complete the improbable win as Murray surprisingly failed to wrest back the momentum.
Nadal cruises, Djokovic survives a scare
Second seed and two-time former champion Novak Djokovic too was close to joining the list of casualties but was able to claw his way back just in time. The Serbian led 4-2 in the decider only to see his young Spanish opponent, Pablo Carreno Busta storm back to level at 4-4.
Carreno Busta then even had two break points on the Djokovic serve which he could not convert, allowing the 12-time Major winner to seal a berth in the quarter-finals, riding on a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 win.
Nine-time champion Rafael Nadal had no such problems as he thoroughly outclassed the talented 14th seed Alexander Zverev in a 6-1, 6-1 rout that lasted only 1 hour 8 minutes. The German, who turned 20 on Thursday, dropped his serve five times and could not get to even a single break point on the Nadal serve.
Sixth seed Dominic Thiem departed after a 6(4)-7, 6-4, 3-6 loss to the 10th seeded David Goffin, while Ninth seed Tomas Berdych also exited after being beaten 2-6, 6(0)-7 by the fifth-seeded Marin Cilic.
Thus in the quarter-finals on Friday, Djokovic will meet Goffin, while Nadal will face the 41st ranked Diego Schwartzman of Argentina. In the top half, Marin Cilic and Ramos-Vinolas will contest one last-eight match and the other one will be between Cuevas and 11th seed Lucas Pouille.