Pune: Defending champions Rohan Bopanna and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan were ousted from the Tata Open Maharashtra but Yuki Bhambri and Divij Sharan combined to shock the top seeds, keeping the Indian hopes alive.
Bopanna and left-handed Jeevan, up against a very solid singles players in Gilles Simon and two-time Grand Slam champion Pierre-Hugues Herbert lost 3-6, 5-7 in one hour and 10 minutes.
However, Yuki and Sharan kept the home fans interested by knocking out the top-seeded pair of Robert Lindstedt and Franko Skugor 7-5, 2-6, 10-6 in their quarterfinals.
Bopanna said their opponents returned too good, making their life tough.
"Gilles Simon showed why he is such a good player. They returned extremely well. We hung in but Simon's big serves on deuce points made the difference," the tall Coorgi said.
Jeevan, who lost his serve twice, said they tried different things like I formation, moving right-left and then getting back to regular things but nothing worked.
"Simons played singles and he won earlier in the day well. So he was watching the ball nicely. When he is in his zone, he is too good and he made us pay," said the left-hander from Chennai.
Both of them lost lot of points but Bopanna said he does not see it that way since he is not defending any points next week.
However, it will impact Jeevan a lot since he mostly plies his trade on the Challenger circuit where even winning the tournaments won't give him the points he lost at an ATP event.
Sharan, who had a very successful 2017, said Yuki brought his singles game and he played with his doubles strength which worked for them.
"It's not first time that we are playing together. Scott Lipsky was not ready so my first option was to play with him. We had made the finals in the Tashkent as well," Sharan said, adding that changing so many partners in the last few months did not impact his game much since he was focussed on his strengths.
Asked if he would like to play more doubles, Yuki said, "only at big events,"
"There are more points on offer in big events. I got lucky that Divij did not have a partner for this event. Divij had insight about the opponents, he was guiding me, we stuck to a plan and it worked."
They next take on Herbert, winner of US Open in 2015 and Wimbledon in 2016 and Simon.
"I am confident now that I can win against any player," Sharan said exuding confidence ahead of Friday's match.
Updated Date: Jan 05, 2018 08:07 AM