Rohan Bopanna won his first Grand Slam title after triumphing in the mixed doubles final of the French Open on Thursday. Bopanna and Gabriela Dabrowski saved two match points to prevail 2-6, 6-2, 12-10 over Robert Farah and Anna-Lena Groenefeld in 67 minutes.
The Indo-Canadian pair struggled at the start of the match as Farah-Groenefeld took control of the first set after breaking Dabrowski’s serve twice, first in the third game and later in the seventh. The Colombian-German pair faced no trouble holding their serves as they wrapped up the set 6-2 in just 21 minutes.
The second set began on a similar note as Dabrowski again failed to hold her serve in the third game. However, Bopanna and Dabrowski soon found their rhythm as they won the next five games to win the set 6-2 and tie the match at one set apiece.
The third set super tiebreak (10-point tiebreaker) was a topsy-turvy affair as Bopanna-Dabrowski raced to a 3-0 lead. However, Farah-Groenfeld regrouped to take the next five points.
The Indo-Canadian pair levelled the score at 6-6 before Farah-Groenefeld opened up a two point gap to lead 9-7 with two championship points in hand.
However, Bopanna-Dabrowski held their nerves and clawed back into the pulsating tiebreaker, eventually winning it 12-10.
Bopanna, whose other Grand Slam final appearance was in the men’s doubles at the 2010 US Open, said winning the title was very special. “As an athlete, when you start playing tennis, you always want to win a Grand Slam,” he said.
He remarked that winning the title was also special for India. “It was in the mixed doubles category that Mahesh Bhupathi won the first Grand Slam title 20 years ago (at Roland Garros). So I am really happy to be a part of those athletes who have won Grand Slams after that,” he said.
About being two match points down in the tie-breaker, Bopanna said they didn’t do anything different. “You don’t think about the match point. You just play aggressive tennis. Dabrowski came up with a great return on 9-8 when Farah served. She trusted her instincts and hit a great backhand. That’s what makes these matches more special,” he said.
Dabrowski said winning the final was an amazing feeling. “It’s something you always dream about as a kid. I couldn’t be more happy,” she said.
Source: The Hindu