Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan become the fifth men’s doubles pairing to win gold at the Asian Games.
At Palembang in the Asian Games, top seeded men’s doubles pairing of Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan won India’s second medal in tennis – after bronze for Ankita Raina in women’s singles.
Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan won 6-3, 6-4 to to beat the Kazakhstan pairing of Aleksander Bublik and Denis Yevseyev 6-3, 6-4 in 52 minutes.
Bopanna and Sharan started the match with a bang. In the first 20 minutes of the game Bopanna-Sharan had taken a 4-1 lead in the opening set with two breaks of serves under their command.
The match was soon wrapped up Bopanna got the job done. Bopanna wrapped up the opening set thanks to his booming serves and Divij’s confident play at the net.
The Kazakhstan players Aleksander Bublik and Denis Yevseyev did tried their level best. But were undone by erratic and inconsistent play.
Bopanna who played mostly from the back of the court was formidable in his returns. He pulled off some tough winners helped by his sheer force.
Second set was a more evenly contested affair with Bublik and Yevseyev connecting better but they couldn’t keep their unforced error count low to put pressure on the Indian pairing.
At 3-3, Bopanna and Sharan clinched the all-important break to go up and despite being pushed a bit in the very next game, the top seeds held serve to grab a 5-3 lead.
Kazakhs held their serve to put the onus on Bopanna to hold for the gold medal – which he did so by serving it out to love.
India have claimed the men’s doubles gold on four occasions at the Asian Games, the last pair being Somdev Devvarman and Sanam Singh in the 2010 Guangzhou edition. Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes remain the most successful Indian men’s doubles pair in the Asian Games history, having claimed back-to-back gold medals in the 2002 and 2006 Games.
Paes, however, had stunned the Indian team this time by pulling out on the eve of the Games after complaining of not getting a specialist partner of his choice.
In 2014, Saketh Myneni and Sanam had ended with a silver medal.