Rohan Bopanna a step away from claiming first title since restart

The Bopanna-Middelkoop pair beat home favourites Vligen-Gille over a super tie-breaker to seal their spot in the European Open final.

By Rahul Venkat ·

Veteran tennis star Rohan Bopanna and his Dutch partner Matwe Middelkoop came from a set down to make it to the summit clash at the ATP 250 European Open late on Saturday night.

Bopanna-Middelkoop beat fifth-seeded local Belgian pair Joran Vliegen and Sander Gille 4-6, 6-3, 10-8 in the semi-finals at Antwerp, Belgium.

Both pairs played out a solid opening set, giving each other no openings until the sixth game. Bopanna-Middelkoop lost their serve in the seventh and it turned out to be the only break as Vliegen-Gille took the opening set.

The Indo-Dutch pair could not afford to be complacent with the match on the line and they stepped up when it mattered. Bopanna-Middelkoop were consistent in their serves, giving their opponents only two break points across the set, both of which they managed to save.

Bopanna-Middelkoop then broke through in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead and served out the next to win the second set and take the match to a super tie-breaker.

It was another intriguing contest in the race to be the first to earn ten points.

Neither team was willing to give up, with any points lost on serve immediately gained back in the next play on court.

However, with the scores tied at 8-8, Bopanna-Middelkoop won a crucial point on their opponents’ serve to earn a match-point on 9-8 and duly won the 10th point to complete a remarkable turnaround and enter the final.

Another tough challenge awaits the Indo-Dutch pair in the summit clash on Sunday evening as they face second-seeded Australians John Peers and Michael Venus.

Gunneswaran falls in Germany

Meanwhile, Bopanna’s compatriot Prajnesh Gunneswaran was unable to mount a challenge at the ATP Challenger Wolffkran Open in Ismaning, Germany.

After winning three-consecutive three-setters, the weariness was evident on Gunneswaran as he fell 7-6, 6-1 to Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp in the semi-finals.