• Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Sports

Bopanna breaks own record at Miami Open

Bopanna also achieved a rare feat as he became the second Indian after Leander Paes to reach the final of all nine ATP Masters events

Matthew Ebden of Australia and Rohan Bopanna of India with the Miami Open trophy

By: Eastern Eye

ACE Indian tennis player Rohan Bopanna rewrote his own record to continue as the oldest ATP Masters 1000 champion as he and his Australian partner Matt Ebden clinched the men’s doubles crown at the Miami Open.

Continuing their fine run this year, the 44-year-old Bopanna and Ebden fought back from a set down to pull off an exhilarating 6-7(3), 6-3, 10-6 win over Croatia’s Ivan Dodig and American Austin Krajicek at the Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday. With the win, Bopanna surpassed his record set last year when he won the Indian Wells title at the age of 43, and also reclaimed the top spot in the doubles ranking.

“It’s amazing. As long as you are doing well in these big events, it’s what we play for,” Bopanna said after the win. “I want to do well in the Masters 1000s and the Grand Slams. It’s good to keep that record going and keep giving everyone else a run for their money,” added Bopanna, who won his maiden doubles Grand Slam title at the Australian Open earlier this year.

This was Bopanna’s 14th ATP Masters 1000 final. Overall, it was the veteran Indian player’s 63rd ATP Tour level final and 26th doubles title.

Bopanna also achieved a rare feat as he became the second Indian after Leander Paes to reach the final of all nine ATP Masters events.

Bopanna and Ebden, the top seeds for the tournament, tapped into their deep reservoir of experience to fetch the final six points of the final clash. They had three set points on serve at 6-5 in the opening set but their second-seeded opponents warded off all three to force a tiebreaker before taking a 1-0 lead.

“It’s tough. These guys, they fight back in tough moments,” said Ebden. “Last time we played them it was similar, it’s a bit of a see-saw. They return so well, make so many balls and we missed one or two shots when we were up [at the end of] the first set. They played a great tie-break, and then we just reset.”

Bopanna and Ebden then staged a comeback as they broke their opponent early in the second set which helped them level the game.

Like the opening two sets, the tiebreaker was also fought on an even keel with the reigning Australian Open champions emerging victorious.

Bopanna teamed up with Ebden at the start of 2023 and has since set several records, including becoming the oldest Masters champion, the oldest finalist at a Grand Slam, and the oldest player to win a match at the ATP Finals.

“Today I feel when I’m at the top there’s no real reason to stop, and I really feel I’m enjoying travelling still,” Bopanna said. “I’m still competing against the best in the world, winning tournaments, now winning the Grand Slam also. I really feel as long as I enjoy it and I’m not forcing myself to be there, I can still keep going as much as possible.”

Bopanna climbed to the No.1 spot after the Australian Open win, becoming the oldest player to do so. But he slipped to the second spot after a quarterfinal loss at the Dubai Championships and an early exit at the Indian Wells Masters.

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