India’s Rohan Bopanna has returned to the US Open final 13 years after his first appearance in the title match, teaming with Australian Matthew Ebden to defeat Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut in Thursday’s semi-finals.
The duo saved a break point on Ebden’s serve at 2-4 to avoid going down a double break in the first set, which they eventually captured in a tie-break. They claimed two breaks in the final set to close out the match 7-6(3), 6-2, hitting 36 winners to 19 from the Frenchmen.
“When we held after saving a break point to avoid going down a double break in the first set, that was really important,” Bopanna said. “We got some great energy from the crowd. Back in the final 13 years later for me, so I’m very happy.”
A winner of 24 tour-level doubles titles, Bopanna is looking for his first Grand Slam title at the age of 43. In 2010 he and Pakistani partner Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi finished runners-up to Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan in the US Open final.
Bopanna and Ebden, who won the Indian Wells title in March and reached the Wimbledon semi-finals in July, improved to 32-15 since teaming at Adelaide-1 in the first week of the season.
They are third in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Teams Rankings and seem likely to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin from 12-19 November.
“Rohan beat me here [in 2018] so I thought we should partner up,” Ebden quipped post match. “We were both looking for partners at the end of last year so we decided to have a crack and we’ve been really enjoying it. Probably from the second month we’ve been going really well.”
Bopanna became the oldest Grand Slam doubles semi-finalist in the Open Era at 43 years and 6 months, beating Daniel Nestor’s record at 2016 Australian Open (43 years, 4 months). Nestor went on to reach the final (l. to Murray/Soares).
In Friday’s final Bopanna and Ebden will play two-time defending champions Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury, who defeated Roland Garros champions Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek 7-5, 3-6, 6-3. The US-British duo has had a lean season relative to previous years but the teammates’ loyalty has paid dividends at Flushing Meadows, where they are looking to become the first team in the Open Era to win three consecutive titles.
“It’s been a tough year for us, but to play at this level and to stick together and beat probably the best team of the year, I’m so proud of our performance,” Ram said.
Salisbury added, “We just knew we would fight hard to the end. Raj played amazing in the third set and we’re really happy to be back in the final… It’s not been the best year for us, so we didn’t think we’d be here. But there’s something about this place that brings out the best in us.”
Source : Atptour