Pune, Jan. 4:
Top seeds Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan saved six match points in an edge-of-the-seat thriller against Leander Paes and Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela to move to the semifinals of the Tata Open Maharashtra, here Thursday.
After splitting the two sets, the Super Tie Breaker turned out to be a cliffhanger in which Paes and his Mexican partner had as many as six chances to close the match but the Asian Games gold medallists held their nerves to remain alive.
At 8-8, Paes appeared to have served a double fault but the chair umpire and the linesman did not call and a livid Bopanna began an argument with the match official but to no avail.
The match had all the ingredients of a thriller in which the top seeds eventually prevailed 6-7(4), 6-4, 17-15 after one hour and 45 minutes.
Immediately after saving their sixth match point to make it 15-15, Bopanna smashed a volley winner to earn their second match point and finished it with a lob, which landed near the baseline, sailing over their opponents. The shot ended the 24-minute super tie breaker.
Nevertheless, it was a superb match played by veteran Paes who initially served big, losing just four points in the entire first set on his serve.
Miguel was easily the best player on the court with his game craft, solid returns and volleying at the net.
Left-handed Sharan was the easiest to attack as several times he just pushed the ball, giving his opponents ample time to get into position and find suitable return.
The first break chance was created by Bopanna in the fourth game off Mexican’s serve when he found a backhand winner down the line but Miguel saved it with an ace.
Soon, Miguel hit a service return winner to earn two break chances for his team but Bopanna served strong to save both and also the deciding point.