Bopanna wins first grand slam title

Bopanna wins first grand slam title

Twenty years after a Bengalurean won India’s first-ever title at a Grand Slam tournament, another man from the city achieved the same feat on Thursday.

In 1997, Mahesh Bhupathi partnered Japan’s Rika Hiraki to win the mixed doubles crown at the French Open. On Thursday, Rohan Bopanna emulated his friend and city-mate, partnering Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski to emerge mixed doubles champion at the Roland Garros.

Bopanna and Dabrowski defeated Colombia’s Robert Farah and Germany’s Anna-Lena Groenefeld 2-6, 6-2, 12-10 in the final.

It was Bopanna’s first title at a Grand Slam, in only his second final appearance. In 2010, Bopanna and his Pakistani partner Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi lost to the Bryan twins, Bob and Mike, in the men’s doubles final of the US Open. Bopanna is only the fourth Indian to taste success at a Grand Slam, after Bhupathi, Leander Paes and Sania Mirza. It comes after years of struggle and the strapping Kodava lad, nicknamed Bofors once for his booming serves, described the win as truly special.

“It’s truly special. As an athlete, when you start playing tennis, you want to win a Grand Slam,” said Bopanna, who joined forces with Gabriela for the first time in New York last year.

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