» Sports » Tata Open: Defending champs Bopanna, Jeevan ousted; Yuki-Sharan in semis

Tata Open: Defending champs Bopanna, Jeevan ousted; Yuki-Sharan in semis

January 05, 2018 00:08 IST

Yuki Bhambri

IMAGE: Yuki Bhambri and Divij Sharan reached the semis. Photograph: Tata Open Maharashtra/Twitter

Defending champions Rohan Bopanna and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan were ousted from the Tata Open Maharashtra but Yuki Bhambri and Divij Sharan combined to shock the top seeds, keeping the Indian hopes alive, in Pune, on Thursday.


Bopanna and left-handed Jeevan, up against a very solid singles players in Gilles Simon and two-time Grand Slam champion Pierre-Hugues Herbert lost 3-6, 5-7 in one hour and 10 minutes.

However, Yuki and Sharan kept the home fans interested by knocking out the top seeded pair of Robert Lindstedt and Franko Skugor 7-5, 2-6, 10-6 in their quarter-finals.

Bopanna said their opponents returned too good, making their life tough.

"Gilles Simon showed why he is such a good player. They returned extremely well. We hung in but Simon's big serves on deuce points made the difference," the tall Coorgi said.

Jeevan, who lost his serve twice, said they tried different things like I formation, moving right-left and then getting back to regular things but nothing worked.

"Simons played singles and he won earlier in the day well. So he was watching the ball nicely. When he is in his zone, he is too good and he made us pay," said the left-hander from Chennai.

Both of them lost lot of points but Bopanna said he does not see it that way since he is not defending any points next week.

However, it will impact Jeevan a lot since he mostly plies his trade on the Challenger circuit where even winning the tournaments won't give him the points he lost at an ATP event here.

Sharan, who had a very successful 2017, said Yuki brought his singles game and he played with his doubles strength which worked for them.

"It's not first time that we are playing together. Scott Lipsky was not ready so my first option was to play with him. We had made the finals in the Tashkent as well," Sharan said, adding that changing so many partners in the last few months did not impact his game much since he was focussed on his strengths.

Asked if he would like to play more doubles, Yuki said, "only at big events."

"There are more points on offer in big events. I got lucky that Divij did not have a partner for this event. Divij had insight about the opponents, he was guiding me, we stuck to a plan and it worked."

They next take on Herbert, winner of US Open in 2015 and Wimbledon in 2016 and Simon.

"I am confident now that I can win against any player," Sharan said exuding confidence ahead of Friday's match.

Anderson prevails over Kukushkin, Cilic outplays Herbert

Kevin Anderson

IMAGE: Kevin Anderson sends a return. Photograph: Tata Open Maharashtra/Twitter

Marin Cilic and Kevin Anderson, the two Grand Slam finalists last year, brightened prospects of a summit showdown by reaching the semifinals of the Tata Open Maharashtra with contrasting wins in Pune.

Top seed Cilic from Croatia outplayed eighth seed Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-3, 6-2 in 64 minutes while Anderson survived a mighty scare from a dogged Mikhail Kukushkin before edging him 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-2.

The US Open finalist from South Africa had to strategise and re-strategise against the Kazak in an intense quarter-final, which lasted two hours and 30 minutes.

His big serve, with which he fired 24 aces, was put to test by the Kazakh, but eventually, the tall South African found a way to win.

Cilic will now take on the very impressive Frenchman Gilles Simon, who ended the run of Spanish qualifier Ricardo Ojeda Lara with a 6-2, 6-3 win.

The 89th-ranked Simon had knocked out defending champion Roberto Bautista Agut in the second round and maintained his rhythm by winning 89 per cent points.

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