Fresh from winning the men’s doubles gold at the Asian Games, Indian tennis ace Rohan Bopanna started his US Open 2018 campaign on a winning note at New York on Wednesday. The 15th seeded pair of Bopanna and France’s Edouard Roger-Vasselin were made to work hard by the German-Cypriot combine of Mischa Zverev and Marcos Baghdatis before they could notch up a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win in 1 hour 42 minutes.
India’s Purav Raja did not have the same fortunes as his run ended in the first round itself. He and Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk were edged 6-7(2), 4-6 by Nikola Mektic and Jurgen Melzer.
This is Bopanna’s first match on the Tour since Wimbledon. Due to a pinched nerve, he had to retire from his second round match at the grasscourt Slam and subsequently was forced to pull out of a few US Open warm-up events.
It was only at the Asian Games that he made a comeback and went on to win the gold medal in tandem with Divij Sharan. It was a first time pairing between the two in any international tournament.
The Indian returned to the Flushing Meadows to resume his old partnership with Roger-Vasselin, with whom he had been playing the whole season.
The first set did not go their way as they dropped their serve once to gift it to their unseeded opponents. The Indo-French combine then managed to secure a break in each of the next two sets to seal the win.
Raja and Gojowczyk failed to capitalize on the two break points that they got in the second set of what was a very tight first round match for them. It was just one break of serve in Set 2 that Mektic and Melzer needed to get the win.
Earlier on Tuesday, Yuki Bhambri bowed out of the final Slam of the year in the first round of men’s singles. The India No. 1, currently ranked 96th in the world, went down fighting 3-6, 6-7(3), 5-7 to World No. 75 Pierre-Hugues Herbert.