India’s Rohan Bopanna and Ramkumar Ramanathan defeated top seeds Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Brazilian Marcelo Melo in the summit clash of the Adelaide International on Saturday to clinch the title.
Bopanna and Ramkumar won 7-6, 6-1 in the men’s doubles final of the ATP 250 event.
It is Ramkumar’s first ATP Tour title, while being Bopanna’s 20th.
Bopanna’s excellent service returns at crucial times and Ramkumar’s all-round game tilted the match in their favour. In the one hour and 21 minutes contest, the Indians saved all the four break points they faced and broke their rivals twice.
“When Ramkumar is serving by your side, you can finish the point early, so that was an advantage,” said Bopanna, according to PTI.
Asked how different it was playing with Ramkumar than another compatriot and left-handed Divij Sharan, Bopanan said, “With Divij, we had to create a point, ensure that first volley opportunity is taken while with Ram, the point can be finished early.
“I am surprised not many Indians entered this event. If anyone had landed here, would have entered the field since not many players were there.”
Bopanna and Ramkumar will split $18700 as prize money and earned 250 ranking points each.
The win would be a huge confidence booster for Ramkumar ahead of the Australian Open Qualifiers, where he will aim to make the singles main draw of a Grand Slam once again.
After saving an early breakpoint, Bopanna and Ramkumar upped their game. In the seventh game, when Melo served at 30-0, Bopanna’s unreturnable service on the right of the Dodig and later a crushing forehand winner made it 30-all but the Brazilian eventually held.
Bopanna then saved another breakpoint and converted the deciding deuce point to make it 4-4.
Serving to stay afloat in the set at 5-6, the Indian pair was up 40-30 when Dodig created a winner on Bopanna’s serve that whizzed past Ramkumar on his right but the big-serving Coorgi hit an ace to drag it to a tie-breaker.
At 6-6, Bopanna found a service return winner on Melo’s serve to earn their second set point and converted with his booming serve.
It was one-way traffic in the second set with the Indians dominating all through.
In the semifinals, the Indians upstaged fourth seeds Tomislav Brkic and Santiago Gonzalez in straight sets. The unseeded duo ousted the Bosnian-Mexican duo 6-2 6-4 in the doubles semifinals.
It was an interesting match as the 41-year-old Bopanna and Dodig have often paired up together, the most recent being in the US Open in September when the duo was knocked out in the third round.
Bopanna and Ramkumar, who have paired up for the first time on the ATP tour, enjoyed a memorable week. They had notched straight-set wins in the tournament barring the second round match against the American duo of Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow when they were stretched to a super tie-breaker.
The Adelaide event is a tune up tournament for the Australian Open, starting January 17 in Melbourne.
(With PTI inputs)