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Rediff.com  » Sports » Amritraj-Bopanna in Chennai Open final

Amritraj-Bopanna in Chennai Open final

January 07, 2006 19:24 IST

Prakash Amritraj and Rohan Bopanna saved four match-points to register an exciting victory over second seeds Alexander Waske-Rainer Schuettler and enter the final of the Chennai Open doubles at the SDAT tennis stadium on Saturday.

The Indians, who seemed to have lost momentum after the first set, came back strongly in the match tie-breaker to win 6-1, 3-6, 11-9.

Bopanna-Amritraj, wild card entrants in the draw, began on a high, breaking Waske in his first service game to lead 3-0. Bopanna's strong serve and Amritraj's play at the net saw the pair sail through easily in the opening set, taking it 6-1.

The Germans plugged the chinks in their game in the second set, playing solid rather than brilliant, to take it 6-3.

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The Indian pair looked like they would be overwhelmed in the tie-break, with Schuettler, who won the doubles title last year with Yen-Hsun Lu, and Waske leading for the better part. Waske was serving for the match at 9-5 but a double-fault by him changed the game in favour of the home favourites.

India leveled at 9-9 when the 30-year-old hit a lob long, and took the lead for the first time when a strong return from Bopanna was slammed into the net.

With Amritraj serving for the match, the crowd cheers had reached a crescendo and it looked unlikely that the Indians would give up after fighting their way into a winning position. Schuettler's forehand return flew wide to give the Indians a famous win in Chennai.

Bopanna-Amritraj, the only Indian interest left in the tournament, will play the final against Michal Mertinak of Slovakia and Czech Petr Pala.

The duo, who advanced to the semi-final beating top seeds Leander Paes and Martin Damm, defeated Hyung-Taik Lee and Bjorn Phau 6-2, 6-1.

The last time an Indian pair won the doubles title in Chennai was in 2002 when Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi came out of a split to beat Tomas Cibulec and Ota Fukarek.

Deepti Patwardhan in Chennai