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Bopanna-Ebden enter Australian Open quarters, Indian assures career-high ranking | Tennis News

India’s Rohan Bopanna and his Australian partner Matthew Ebden entered the men’s doubles quarterfinals of the Australian Open with an impressive 7-6 7-6 victory over Wesley Koolhof of the Netherlands and Croatia’s Nikola Mektic here on Monday.

Matthew Ebden and Rohan Bopanna

The 43-year-old Bopanna and Ebden, who are seeded second in the draw, were broken early in both sets but showed themselves to be up to the task with some great returns against the 14th seeds.

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The Indo-Australian pair will next meet the sixth-seeded Argentine duo of Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni.

They are also the highest-seeded pair to remain alive in the men’s doubles competition and Monday’s win was a praiseworthy one against the former top-ranked doubles pair in the world.

With this win, Bopanna also ensured a career-high doubles ranking of No.2.

Bopanna’s service let him down initially as he was broken in the second game of the first set with the 14th seeds racing to a 3-0 lead within first 15 minutes of the start.

However, the veteran Indian, who recently retired from Davis Cup duties, was back in his groove with some signature backhand down the lines and deft overhead lobs which were placed inches inside the baseline.

In the seventh game of the first set, Mektic and Koolhof made some glaring unforced errors, allowing the Indo-Aussie pair to get their foot in the door.

There was no looking back for them after that as they held both nerve and serve. Bopanna was a livewire at the nets and his anticipation won his team half of the points as he used deft volleys in the alley between Koolhof and Mektic. The bisection was very precise, leaving the opponents wrong-footed.

In the second set also, Bopanna lost his first service game with the Dutch-Croat duo going up 4-2 and showing signs of a revival, which looked imminent but was not to be.

Mektic’s first serve really let their team down as they had a success percentage of a mere 55 percent compared to a whopping 77 percent by the winners, despite conceding breaks in both games. Ebden didn’t lose a single game on his serve.

In the eighth game of the second set, Bopanna upped his game once again and forced the opposition to commit errors, and they made a comeback into the contest.

The tie-breaker saw Bopanna-Ebden race to a 3-0 lead and from that point, it was always going to be an uphill task for their opponents.

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