All-Indian doubles final set to hog limelight

Rohan Bopanna and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan kept their final date with India’s latest doubles sensations Divij Sharan and Purav Raja in what will be the first all-India final at the ATP World Tour event.

Rohan Bopanna and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan booked their spot in the final by beating the US-NZ team of Nicholas Monroe and Artem Sitak.

Rohan Bopanna and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan booked their spot in the final by beating the US-NZ team of Nicholas Monroe and Artem Sitak.   -  R. Ragu

Probably for the first time since the era of Leander Paes-Mahesh Bhupathi domination, a doubles final will trump over the singles at the Chennai Open. Rohan Bopanna and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan kept their final date with India’s latest doubles sensations Divij Sharan and Purav Raja in what will be the first all-India final at the ATP World Tour event.

After Sharan-Raja knocked out second seeded Argentinians Guillermo Duran and Andres Molteni on Friday to make the doubles final, Bopanna-Nedunchezhiyan booked their spot in the final by beating the US-NZ team of Nicholas Monroe and Artem Sitak.

Bopanna was visibly elated to have an all-Indian final. “I think it’s great to have an all-India final in India, it doesn’t get better than that. Purav Raja and Divij Sharan have coming up with good results in the last year and Jeevan has had a great year. It shows that the guys have been working really hard,” he said.

“It’s not easy to play the Challengers and get the ranking up. They’ve been fighting week in and week out. It’s great that both the teams have made it to the final. It’s a win-win situation,” Bopanna added.

Local boy Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan was excited about playing against ‘good friends’ Divij and Sharan in the final. “It’s going to be amazing to have an all-Indian final in my home town. Purav and Divij are good friends of mine and we see each other all the time on the Challenger circuit.

“I got to say Purav has been helping me a lot not just at the tournaments that we meet but even in terms of selecting what tournaments to play, what decisions to make and when. It’s going to be great having Rohan on my side playing my closest friends on tour,” the 28-year-old Chennaiite said.

Rohan Bopanna and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan saved three match points in the quarterfinal before earning a place in the semifinal. Purav Raja and Divij Sharan have had it relatively smooth, having beaten India’s Leander Paes and his Brazilian partner Andre Sa in the first round.

“I feel very proud that four Indians are playing the only ATP tournament we have. I don’t there’s ever been an Indian final before. So tennis wins, India wins, everybody wins. It’s a win-win situation for us no matter who takes the trophy,” Bopanna reiterated.

An Indian last won a Chennai Open title in 2012, when Leander Paes partnered Janko Tipsarevic to take the doubles trophy.

In the singles, 20-year-old Daniil Medvedev will >play his first ATP World Tour final against Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut.

The Russian NextGen star had to save one match point before going on to defeat Dudi Sela 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-2 in the semifinal.

"It's nice to be in the final here again. I will prepare for the match and play my best tomorrow," he said after the win.

His opponent Bautista Agut, a 2013 finalist at the Chennai Open, had a smoother run in the semifinal against Benoit Paire after pulling off a heist in the quarters against Russian Mikhail Youzhny.

Having watched Medvedev play the semifinal from the sidelines on Friday, the second seed knew what to expect from the Russian. “Medvedev is very tall. He has got good serve, good hands and is pretty strong from the baseline. It will be a good match,” Bautista Agut said.

"I have more experience now (than in 2013). It's good to be in the final again and I love to come back every year. I will fight tomorrow until the last point and we'll see how it goes," the World No. 14, who has four ATP titles under his name, said after his semifinal clash on Friday.

Order of Play:

Centre Court ( From 5:05pm):

Singles Final: Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) v Daniil Medvedev (RUS)

Doubles Final: Rohan Bopanna/ Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan v Divij Sharan/ Purav Raja