Rohan Bopanna’s longevity endures, wins Miami title with Ebdon | Tennis News - Hindustan Times
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Rohan Bopanna’s longevity endures, wins Miami title with Ebdon

Mar 31, 2024 08:40 PM IST

The 44-year-old Indian improved his own record as the oldest-ever ATP Masters champion

Last year at Indian Wells, Rohan Bopanna had added his name in tennis' record books by becoming the oldest ever ATP Masters champion. This year in Miami, the 44-year-old Bopanna rewrote it by capturing the Miami Open doubles title partnering Matthew Ebden.

Matthew Ebden of Australia and Rohan Bopanna of India hold the trophy after defeating Austin Krajicek of the United States and Ivan Dodig of Croatia during the Men's Doubles Final in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Getty Images via AFP)
Matthew Ebden of Australia and Rohan Bopanna of India hold the trophy after defeating Austin Krajicek of the United States and Ivan Dodig of Croatia during the Men's Doubles Final in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Getty Images via AFP)

The top-seeded Indian-Aussie pair took down second seeds Croatian Ivan Dodig and American Austin Krajicek 6-7(3) 6-3 10-6 in the final after pocketing the last six points in the match tiebreak of the closely fought contest.

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The title — Bopanna’s sixth in ATP Masters 1000 tournaments — will get the current world No.2 Indian back to the top of the doubles charts on Monday, replacing Krajicek. Bopanna had scaled the rankings peak after winning the Australian Open this year but dropped a place after early exits at the ATP 500 Dubai (quarter-final) and Indian Wells (Round of 32), where the duo was the defending champion.

Still, it has been a solid start to the season for the Bopanna-Ebden pair, with a 14-3 win-loss record and two big titles in the first three months in Melbourne and Miami.

“It’s amazing. As long as you are doing well in these big events, that's what we play for — to do well in the Masters series and the Grand Slams. It’s good to keep that record going and keep giving everyone else a run for their money," Bopanna said after the Miami title win.

At 44, Bopanna continues to break new ground. Like with his Indian Wells triumph last year, this is the first time he has won the Miami Open, which immediately follows the Indian Wells Masters. The two tournaments are the most prestigious hard court events on the ATP calendar. Before the couple of Masters trophies over the past year, Bopanna had bagged an ATP 1000 title last in 2017.

Bopanna is the first Indian to win the Miami Open since three-time champion Leander Paes, who last won it in 2012, a year after he and Mahesh Bhupathi were champions there. Sania Mirza too has won a WTA title in Miami in 2015 partnering Swiss legend Martina Hingis.

Getting the crucial break in the opening set of Saturday’s final, Bopanna and Ebden had three set points on serve at 6-5 but were forced into the tiebreaker, which they lost. Having to "reset", as Ebden put it, and rally from a set down, the top seeds took control of the match thereafter, and were especially dominant at the back end of the match tiebreak.

Bopanna and Ebden will now move into the clay swing of the season leading into the French Open. The clay courts of Roland Garros will also host the Paris Olympics, for which Bopanna is all but assured of a spot in the doubles draw.

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