Nungambakkam (Chennai) [India], Jan. 9 : Rohan Bopanna and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan became the first Indian pair since 2011 to clinch the Chennai Open men's doubles title at the SDAT Stadium here last evening.
Bopanna and Nedunchezhiyan defeated fellow countrymen Purav Raja and Divij Sharan 6-3, 6-4 in the finals of the tournament to emulate Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, who achieved the feat as many as five times.
Paes won the title one more time in 2012 but that was with a Serbian player, Janko Tipsaveric. Some sort of doubles history was created even before the first ball was hit, as it was for the time in the Chennai Open's 22-year existence that four Indians featured in the summit showdown.
Reflecting on the same, Bopanna said, "It was a big step for tennis to have four Indians playing in the finals.
If this inspires even or two kids to take up tennis, I will be such a happy person." Bopanna agreed that the match was much closer than it actually turned out to be.
"There were a number of chances for both of us. But we were better as a team," he said. Bopanna and Nedun made it look easy but Raja and Sharan put up a game fight, even going ahead in the second set.
They just couldn't maintain the momentum, with a booming Bopanna being the critical difference. The 14-time ATP winner forged into an unstoppable force in the company of a delectable Nedun. Bopanna and Nedun surged ahead in the second game itself, with Sharan unable to hold his serve. Nedun held his own in style for 3-0 and they could have added one more game to their tally. But they failed to convert two break points against Raja to give him and Sharan a look in. Against the run of play, Bopanna however suffered a break and Sharan held serve to make it 3-all. The two pairs fought valiantly for the upper hand but Bopanna came up with another winner to regain ground 5-4.
He produced two aces to seal the game and set. In the second set too, Bopanna was the first to be broken to give Sharan-Raja a 2-0 lead. But Raja and Sharan were broken in their respective games to put Bopanna-Nedun 4-2 firmly on their way to the title.
All four players held their serves thereafter but by then the match had been won and lost..