'Big confidence booster'

Paris Masters win biggest so far, says Bopanna

The Indo-Pak Express outplayed the French pair of the experienced Julien Benneteau and Nicolas Mahut 6-4, 6-2 to win their first ever Master series tournament.

“This win gives us a lot of confidence, it is our biggest title by far. All the hard work over the years has paid off,” Bopanna said after collecting his third ATP doubles title of the season with Qureshi.

They had shocked number two seeds Michael Llodra and Nenad Zimonjic and number three seeds Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor en route to the final. “We are ecstatic to win our first Masters 1000 title. Last year we didn’t play well in finals and this year we have won three out of three,” said Qureshi.

The season ending finale, where top-eight teams compete, will begin in London on November 20.

Benneteau conceded that they lost to a better team. “They were stronger than us and I wish them good luck in London next week.

“We got a wild card and had a great run, we enjoyed playing in front of a big crowd and having their support,” said Benneteau.

Meanwhile, Bopanna and Qureshi moved two places to fifth in the latest ATP Doubles Team Rankings released on Monday.

India’s Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes remain fourth in the rankings following their early exit from the Paris Masters. 

Bopanna-Qureshi have gained six places each in the doubles players rankings and are at 10th and 9th places, respectively. Bhupathi-Paes maintain their seventh and eighth places.

Confident Federer

Just a week before the ATP World Tour finals, Roger Federer signalled his return to the top in timely fashion with a sensational run to the Paris Masters title.

A sharp first serve and deadly accurate forehand meant the Swiss 16-time Grand Slam champion, now fourth in the world rankings, encountered few problems in Paris but he seems pretty well prepared for when he defends his title.

“It was some good scheduling. I always plan it long term,” he said. “I think as an athlete you need short and long-term goals and I have both,” added Federer, who has dropped serve only twice this week.

“Athletes need to make sure they do take time away from the game at some time. Even I need my time away. It’s worked out perfectly and I go into London with confidence.”

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