Rohan Bopanna and his Dutch partner Matwe Middelkoop reached their first-ever French Open men's doubles semifinals in Paris on Monday after the duo came from behind to beat the British-Finnish pair of Lloyd Glasspool and Henri Heliovaara.
Bopanna, 42, and Middlekoop, 38, beat Glasspool and Heliovaara 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (3) in two hours four minutes to set up the final four clash with 12th seeds Marcelo Arevalo of El Salvador and Jean-Julien Roger of the Netherlands.
Bopanna and Middelkoop lost the first set after the Dutchman's serve got broken in the ninth game. However, the 16th seeds bounced back to take the second set by the same scoreline and forced a deciding third set.
In the final set, Glasspool and Heliovaara again targeted Middelkoop's serve and broke it to move ahead at 4-3 but Glasspool failed to serve out the match at 5-4. Bopanna, leading 40-15 in the 10th game, hit a sensational return on Glasspool's serve that landed right on the baseline.
The British player hit a cross court forehand towards Middlekoop who replied with a weak forehand providing an easy opportunity to Heliovaara to win the point at the net with a volley. Surprisingly, the Finn hit the backhand volley wide. Glasspool protested that Bopanna's lob was long but since he had not stoped during the point and appealed, the chair umpire dismissed his protest.
The two pairs then held their serve which lead to a super tiebreak. Glasspool and Heliovaara began with a 3-0 lead but the 16th-seeded Indo-Dutch duo stunningly reeled off 10 points in a row to seal the victory.
Bopanna and Middelkoop reached the quarterfinals after saving five match points in a thrilling 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3), 7-6 (10) third-round win over second-seeded Croatians Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic. Earlier, they had won their first and second round matches against local wild cards Sascha Gueymard Wayenburg and Luca Van Assche (6-4, 6-1), and the Kazakh-French pair of Andrey Golubev and Fabrice Martin (6-3, 6-4), respectively in straight sets.
Bopanna has reached the men's doubles semifinals of a Major for the first time since Wimbledon 2015.
The last Indian to win a men's doubles title at a Grand Slam is Leander Paes who lifted the trophy along with Czech Republic's Radek Stepanek at the 2013 US Open while the last Indian to win a Grand Slam title is Bopanna himself who, along with Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski, clinched the mixed doubles crown at the 2017 French Open.
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