Paes-Ebden go one step closer to Bengaluru Open title

Leander Paes-Matthew Ebden go one step closer to Bengaluru Open title

Bengaluru: India's Leander Paes and Australia's Matthew Ebden in action against Israel's Jonathan Erlich and Belarus Andrei Vasilevski during their doubles semifinal match at ATP Challenger tour"Bengaluru Open 2020 at Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association in Bengaluru. PTI

Leander Paes continued his march towards the title at the Bengaluru Open Challenger with yet another nail-biter at the KSLTA on Friday.

It went down to the wire once again for the veteran Indian and his Australian partner Matthew Ebden. And like they did before, the duo once again found the nerves when it mattered most to clinch a 6-4, 3-6, 10-7 win over second-seeded duo of Jonathan Elrich and Andrei Vasilevski in the semifinals. They will face fourth seeded pair of Purav Raja and Ramkumar Ramanathan in the final. They advanced after Matt Reid and Saketh Myneni conceded the match while trailing 5-7, 0-0. Reid took a tumble while chasing the ball to the back court and suffered a knee injury.

An early break in the first game, the umpire calling an infringement on Israeli Elrich with the game level at 40-40 to hand the point to the home favourite, proved the difference in the first set. In the second set, it was a double fault from Ebden serve in the fourth game, that settled the issue.

In the match tie-breaker, the Indio-Aussie pair - having already experienced the pressure it brings - rose to the challenge.

Paes once again rose to his best. With two spectacular net plays, all soft hands and angles, he sent his team to a 3-2 lead. But the wily Elrich, one among Paes’ 135 partners over his career, pulled the scores back 3-4 in the other direction. 

Perhaps inspired by the Indian, Ebden then came up with a crucial volley and soon they were 8-5 ahead. While they did stutter, conceding two points in a row, Paes-Ebden duo saw it over the line, ending with a fist-pumping celebration with the crowd.

Earlier in the singles quarterfinal, Julian Ocleppo of Italy pulled a surprise 7-6(4), 6(3)-7, 6-4 win over Ilya Ivashka of Belarus.

Japanese third seed Yuichi Sugita lost to Benjamin Bonzi of France, who clinched a 6(5)-7, 7-5, 6-4 win.

Results: Singles (Quarterfinals): Julian Ocleppo (Ita) bt 13-Ilya Ivashka (Blr) 7-6(4), 6(3)-7, 6-4; 4-James Duckworth (Aus) bt 9-Thomas Fabbiano (Ita) 6(5)-7, 6-0, 6-2; 2-Stefano Travaglia (Ita) bt 11-Blaz Rola (Slo) 6-4, 4-6, 6-2; Benjamin Bonzi (Fra) bt 3-Yuichi Sugita (Jpn) 6(5)-7, 7-5, 6-4.

Doubles: Semifinals: Matthew Ebden (Aus)/ Leander Paes (Ind) bt 2-Jonathan Erlich (Isr) / Andrei Vasilevski (Blr) 6-4, 3-6, 10-7; 4-Purav Raja (Ind) / Ramkumar Ramanathan (Ind) bt Saketh Myneni (Ind)/ Matt Reid (Aus) 7-5, 0-0.

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