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Chennai Open: Roberto Bautista Agut claims singles crown; Rohan Bopanna, Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan win doubles title

Chennai: Roberto Bautista Agut captured his fifth ATP singles title to deny Danill Medvedev his maiden one at this level as the World number 14 subdued the young Russian 6-3 6?4 in the final of the Chennai Open here on Sunday.

Agut remained solid from the baseline while Medvedev paid the price for little mistakes against his superior opponent, who kept his strokes and emotions under control.

Medvedev’s serve was always under pressure and in contrast the Spaniard served out his games comfortably, losing only eight points in the one hour 11 minutes match. The Russian managed to engage Agut in long rallies, especially in the second set, but the Spaniard mostly found a way to finish the points.

Nevertheless, the 20-year-old Medvedev, playing in his maiden ATP final, made a good impression with his all-round game and will jump a good number of places from his current 99th rank.

It was the second time that Agut was playing a final at the Chennai Open, having ended runner-up to Janko Tipsarevic in 2013 at the Nungambakkam Stadium.

Last year, Agut had won two of his four titles in Auckland and Sofia. He had claimed two victories (Stuttgart and s-Hetrogenbosch) in 2014.

“It was very good level of tennis. He had good strokes from the baseline but I was solid and could play aggressive when I needed. I have become better player with experience,” Agut said.

The Spaniard was realistic with his assessment of his game and looked ahead to the season.

“I want to play in the quarterfinals of the Grand Slams this year. I will definitely try to be in top-10 but it will be very difficult,” he said.

The Spaniard said Medvedev has a great future.

“He is tall and has good serve. He moves well. He is already good and can be better.”

Agut said the court has become a bit faster here over the years.

Medvedev had started well, serving at love his first service game but lost the next after a few unforced errors put him down by three breakpoints. He netted a backhand after a double fault in the fourth game.
He saved the first two but netted a return on the third with Agut setting it up nicely by attacking the net.

The Spaniard held his own for a commanding 4-1 lead against the Russian. There was no break of serve after that and the Spaniard served out the set in the ninth.

Medvedev played better in the second set but still was unable to put pressure on Agut’s service games. The only time the Russian pushed Agut a bit was in the fourth game when the Spaniard saved the game from deuce point.

Medvedev also received a medical timeout after the seventh game due to an issue with his right hamstring.

Serving at 4-4, the Russian began with a double fault, sent a forehand long and again sent down a double fault to be down by a breakpoint, which Agut converted with a backhand winner.

The Spaniard was now serving for the championship and he did it with ease with Medvedev sending a return long on first match point.

Rohan Bopanna and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, playing only the second time together, notched up a memorable victory in a historic all-Indian doubles final, as they outplayed compatriots Divij Sharan and Purav Raja.

World number 28 Bopanna and Jeevan beat the most-consistent and impressive team 6-3 6-4 in just 65 minutes to win their first title together and deny Raja-Sharan their third at this level.

It is the first time that an Indian team has clinched the Chennai Open trophy since the legendary Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi took the title in 2011.

The Lee-Hesh pair, also known as the Indian Express, won five titles at the Nugumbakkam Stadium during their glorious careers.

It was Bopanna’s 15th career title and first since June 2015 when he won the Stuttgart trophy with Florin Mergea. He lost two final last season in Sydney and Madrid.

Sharan and Raja, who have two titles (Bogota, 2013) and (Los Cabos, 2016), have lost a final for the first time in the third appearance together.

It was a big win for Jeevan, who played his ATP level final, as he made a shift from singles to focus on doubles career very recently. The Chennai lad has three doubles titles on the Challenger circuit.

The final was littered with breaks, and surprisingly, Sharan and Raja could not play the way they had en route the final, including knocking out Leander Paes and Andre Sa.

Of the four players on the court, Jeevan was the least experienced at this level but he stood out with his service games as he was the only player to not concede a break in the match.

Not only he served well, he played smartly, often creating chances with his angled winners. His accurate serving set up Bopanna at the net for easy winners.

Raja and Sharan struggled with their serves in the wake of some superb returns from their rivals and it made a huge difference to the outcome of the match.

Bopanna said the all-Indian final was great for the game in the country.

“It’s a big step forward for Indian tennis. Who knows if it inspires a kid to pick up racquet. It’s a huge win for Indian tennis,” Bopanna, who has teamed up with Pablo Cuevas for the 2017 season, said.

The Coorgi said Jeevan was outstanding on the court.

“My job was to keep him relaxed. Even Purav and Divij played felt the pressure. We played better as a team. There were chances for both the teams and we took more,” Bopanna added.

Jeevan said it was tough to beat Sharan and Raja.

“They are not someone who give easy points. We were able to communicate better during change overs to counter their I formation. Rohan kept going for his big returns. It’s a great start for me to the season,” the diminutive left-hander, who has teamed up with Indonesia’s Christopher Rungkat for three weeks post Australian Open, said.

In an ominous start, left-handed Sharan, easily the best server in the tournament till final, was broken in the second game. Raja almost lost his but saved a break chance in the fourth.

Scores became even when Bopanna also conceded break in the fifth game. On the second break chance, Jeevan and Raja were involved in a gripping rally from close to the net and it ended when the Delhi lad found a volley winner.

Serving at 3-4, Raja was broken on deciding point and it gave Bopanna a chance to serve out the first set easily.

Sharan saved three breakpoints in the opening game of the second set and broke Bopanna in the second to lead 2-0, but they could not carry forward the lead as Raja lost serve in the third.

Jeevan came out with exceptional service game in the fourth to make it 2-2 with Bopanna making it look very easy with his drop volleys.

A break was the last thing the Raja-Sharan duo needed at that stage but the left-hander lost it on the deciding point after saving three break chances.

The break-advantage remained with the winners as no pair conceded a break after that and Bopanna served out the match at love with Raja hitting a forehand error on first match point.

Raja said they were the best returning team today and Bopanna’s experience of playing at the bigger level coupled with his excellent returns made a difference to the outcome of the match.

“The formation that we play us allows to hit the lines and he (Bopanna) hit those line today. He deserves the credit. With our formation we covered majority of the court, 70-80 per cent. They went for that 20 per cent and succeeded.

“When you are serving at 180kms and the returns are coming at 200kms, it is tough. If Rohan can keep playing at this level, he can be the most dangerous player.”

Delhi lad Sharan said they looked to play bigger tournaments consistently and Challengers only when required.

“We are taking a lot of positives from this. It’s a good start to the season,” the southpaw said.

Source: Zee News