Israeli pair throws spanner in the works | sports | Hindustan Times
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Israeli pair throws spanner in the works

Facing two doubles specialists at the Chennai Open for the first time, the newly-formed pair of Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna went down 6-4, 3-6, 8-10 to Israeli’s Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram in the doubles semifinal on Saturday.

sports Updated: Jan 07, 2012 23:37 IST
Deepti Patwardhan

There was no getting away from it. When it came to the crunch, the finer tuned team came up trumps.

Facing two doubles specialists at the Chennai Open for the first time, the newly-formed pair of Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna went down 6-4, 3-6, 8-10 to Israeli’s Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram in the doubles semifinal on Saturday.

Bhupathi-Bopanna, the top seeds, picked up momentum in the middle of the first set, cracking deep returns and killing off volleys, but they couldn’t carry it to the finish line. Bhupathi was broken twice in the second set; and never quite got their nose ahead in the match tie-break.

The Israeli third seeds will take on the winner of the match between Leander Paes-Janko Tipsarevic and Scott Lipsky-Rajeev Ram. Interestingly, while Paes and Bhupathi have won the Chennai Open five times as a team, they have never claimed the title with any other partner.

It’s Tipsarevic vs Raonic
Nicolas Almagro’s permanent rabbit-caught-in-the-headlight expression turned more and more bemused as he waited for another Milos Raonic power serve to run him over.

Not that the Spaniard had too many opportunities in the match, but whenever he looked like running the 6’5” tall Raonic close, the Canadian would pull out a special one, usually over 215 kmph to set the score right. Raonic hammered 17 aces, 10 of them in the first set, to beat Almagro 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 12 minutes to make it to the final on Saturday.

Later in the day, Janko Tipsarevic broke his semifinal jinx here — he had fallen at the last-four stage the past two years — as he beat Japanese qualifier Go Soeda 6-1, 6-4 to enter the title round.

Soeda, who had eliminated the defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka in the quarterfinal on Friday, could not summon the energy or power to match the Serb, ranked number nine in the world. Though he raised hopes of a revival in the second set, breaking Tipsarevic’s serve in the sixth game, he could not break through the Serb’s defensive wall.

Having failed to qualify for the Chennai Open last year, ATP’s ‘Newcomer of the year’ for 2011, Raonic has now made the finals of the event without losing a set.