Playing just their second tournament together, Rohan Bopanna and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan had no trouble circumventing the challenge of the well-set pairing of Purav Raja and Divij Sharan in the final of the Chennai Open on Sunday. In a contest spanning an hour and five minutes, the local crowd had plenty to cheer with Jeevan playing his first ATP 250 final and then going on to win it. The scoreline in the end read 6-3, 6-4 and it did prove easy thanks to Bopanna’s big serving and sublime returns.
Much like the singles victor earlier (Roberto Bautista Agut), Bopanna and Jeevan might not have been in the final after saving three match points against James Cerretani and Philipp Oswald in the quarters.
But on Sunday, the so far perfect serving and volley combination of Raja and Divij couldn’t get themselves over the line. Where Divij didn’t have the best of days with the serve, they didn’t get much of a chance to display their volleying ability with both Bopanna and Jeevan returning exceptionally.
WATCH VIDEO |Chennai Open 2017 Final: Rohan Bopanna – Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan Lift Title
Bopanna and Jeevan had played at Chengdu Open in 2016 where they had picked up a win but couldn’t go beyond. However, in Chennai, that changed.
They also are the first Indian pairing to win the doubles title at the Chennai Open since Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi had won in 2011.
In the second set, riddled with three breaks of serves in the first five games, Bopanna and Jeevan garnered the advantage and stuck with it until the end. The onus to serve out the contest fell on Bopanna’s shoulders and he created no fuss in bagging his 15th title and helping Jeevan with his first. A mis-hit by Purav at 40-0, handed the Coorg-Chennai born combination the trophy and the winner’s cheque.
Earlier in the second, Divij got the ball rolling but were quickly under pressure facing three break points. He served well to force Bopanna into errors on his return and then draw parity with a 197kmph ace. On the deciding point, Rohan would send his backhand wide for a hold.
Thereafter, Bopanna, Purav and Divij would have their serve broken to leave Rohan-Jeevan with the break advantage and enough to drive themselves home.
The first set would see Bopanna-Jeevan race off to a 3-0 lead on the back of Divij’s serve being broken with plenty of credit going to Bopanna’s massive backhand winner on the serve.
However, they would squander this lead with Divij and Purav crawling back into the contest by breaking Bopanna’s serve in the fifth game. With two chances to bring the set back on serve, Divij would net a volley after a lovely exchange from the back of the court with Purav moving the ball around the court with perfectly placed lobs. But Divij would come good on the deciding point with a volley winner.
In the eighth game, Purav would save two break points, on his serve with Jeevan missing a simple volley at the net, but lose out on the deciding point. With yet another thunderous forehand from Bopanna, Purav would fail to control his volley and be broken. The following game, Bopanna would serve two straight aces and then a deep serve would be netted by Purav to hand the first set in 31 minutes.
On Saturday, after their semi-final win, Bopanna had stated Purav and Divij did have the advantage of being the set-partnership but maintained that they go into it with a 50-50 chance.