Bopanna enters elite list

Bopanna enters elite list

Rohan Bopanna lifted his maiden Grand Slam title by winning the French Open mixed doubles trophy with Canadian partner Gabriela Dabrowski, becoming only the fourth Indian to clinch a major here on Thursday.

Bopanna and Dabrowski, seeded seventh, won the title following a stunning turnaround in the final.

Playing only his second Grand Slam final, Bopanna and Dabrowski saved two match points to eke out a memorable 2-6, 6-2, 12-10 win over Germany’s Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Colombia’s Robert Farah.

After their rivals missed match points, Bopanna and the Canadian had two match points and they sealed the championship when the German double-faulted while serving at 10-11.

Bopanna had made the final of the 2010 US Open with Pakistani parter Aisam-ul-haq-Qureshi and lost to the legendary Bryan brothers — Bob and Mike.

Only Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza have won Grand Slam trophies for India.

In the first set, it was Dabrowski who blinked first as she lost serve on the deciding point with Farah easily smashing past Bopanna on an overhead volley, set up after a rally.

Groenefeld then made it 3-1 with an easy hold.

Farah though remained solid in his service game, never allowing the seventh seeds to put pressure on him.

Serving at 2-4, Dabrowski felt the heat and was broken at love when she hit a backhand long. It allowed Groenefeld to serve out the set and she did it with remarkable ease.

Bopanna began the second set with a double fault but managed to hold his serve even as he argued with the chair umpire on a line call. However, Bopanna and his Canadian partner got a fresh lease of life broke Groenefeld to love in the next game.

Dabrowski then held her serve for the first time in the match. Groenefeld, serving to stay in the set, hit a forehand on to the net on Bopanna’s return to be down by a set point. She saved that but lost the deciding point and it was one set apiece.

In the match tie-breaker, Bopanna and Dabrowski opened up a 3-0 lead but lost five points in a row to trail 3-5.

At 5-5, Farah in his attempt to pick up a half volley, ended up being hit on his right eye on the rebound. After a see-saw battle the Indo-Canadian pair emerged champions.

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