Maharashtra Open: Bopanna, Divij Sharan progress to last-four after super tiebreaker

The match went into a super tiebreaker after the teams were a set apiece and Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan edged the Leander Paes-Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela duo.

Divij Sharan and Rohan Bopanna prevailed in the super tiebreaker to progress to the semifinals.   -  R. Ragu

Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan progressed to the semifinals of the Maharashtra Open with a 6(4)-7, 6-4, 17-15 defeat of Leander Paes and Miguel Reyes-Varela on Thursday.

Playing their first ATP tournament together, the top-seeded Indian pair started on the front foot taking the first game to love.

But Paes and Varela were up for the fight in front of a packed, boisterous crowd. Paes turned back the time with aggressive serves and played good volleys to get back on level terms, while also holding to love. Neither pair dropped a break point in the first set.

As it happened

The Indian duo won a set point but couldn't convert and was forced into a tiebreaker, where Paes - as he has done over the years - showed good reflexes at the net to get two set points. Sharan went long at the baseline from the 45-year-old's serve to give away the set.

The second set saw the first break of the match. Paes was broken in the third game and Sharan in the fourth. Both of them were broken once more, consecutively, in the game but it was the fifth break of the match when Varela was broken, that turned out to be the decisive one.

Bopanna, serving for the set, took the game to love. The super tiebreaker that followed was a game of cat and mouse. The top seeds took a 3-0 lead but Paes and Varela fought back to 4-4, and stayed in the hunt till 8-8.

Bopanna's feathers were ruffled in the next point when the umpire, following the linesman's call, awarded the point to Paes. The men's doubles Asian Games gold-medallist deemed it to have been Paes' double fault but the call went against him.

He held his nerve after and, with Sharan, saved six match points to get through the gruelling super tiebreaker, which they won 17-15.

Bopanna and Sharan will take on Simone Bollelli and Ivan Dodig in the semifinals on Friday.

Simon, Anderson to face off in semis

Gilles Simon and Kevin Anderson will go face-to-face for a place in the finals after both of them won their quarterfinal matches.

Simon, the third seed, was made to work hard for his win by Benoit Paire. His compatriot strolled through the first set and almost took the second too. Down 5-4, the third seed broke Paire to take the set into a tiebreaker and then force the third set.

Unlike the first two sets, the World No. 30 had an easier time against Paire in the third. He found his rhythm and produced exquisite forehand winners to dispatch the fifth seed and progress to the semis.

Earlier in the day, Anderson sailed through his game with ease against Jaume Munar, with the Rafael Nadal academy product offering little challenge to the big-serving South African.

The results:

Singles: Ivo Karlovic bt. Ernests Gulbis 7-6(5), 7-6(5); Steve Darcis bt. Malek Jaziri 7-5, 6-2; Kevin Anderson bt. Jaume Munar 6-3, 6-3; Gilles Simon bt. Benoit Paire 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-4.

Doubles: Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan bt. Leander Paes and Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela 6(4)-7, 6-4, 17-15; Luke Bambridge and Jonny O'Mara bt. Gerard Granollers and Marcel Granollers 6-4, 3-6, 10-6; Ivan Dodig and Simone Bolelli bt. Andreas Mies and Kevin Krawietz 6-2, 6-4.