Resolute Bopanna the man to watch out for | sports | Hindustan Times
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Resolute Bopanna the man to watch out for

sports Updated: Sep 08, 2010 23:45 IST
Deepti Patwardhan

Amid the euphoria of the baffling run by ageing heroes Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, and the buzz about singles stars Somdev Devvarman and Sania Mirza, Rohan Bopanna’s silent progress doesn’t always register on the radar.

But while one by one, all his compatriots have exited the stage Bopanna is the lone Indian surviving at the US Open. Along with his Pakistani partner Aisam Qureshi, the 30-year-old has made it to the semi-final of the year’s final Grand Slam.

Come the Commonwealth Games, the 30-year-old is likely to be called on duty in both fields. Bopanna will be India’s second singles player, partner Somdev Devvarman in the men’s doubles and team up with Nirupama Sanjeev in the mixed doubles.

He has already had a long season behind him, and whether his body can hold up over all three events remains to be seen. But coach Jaideep Mukerjea believes the breakthrough performance at the US Open couldn’t have come at a better time.

“Bopanna is doing extremely well at the US Open,” he said. “He and Somdev will be a very tough team to beat. If it goes well, we could be looking at an all-Indian final in the men’s doubles.”

The team game has taken precedence this season but the tall Coorgi still has a decent record in singles at the Davis Cup to show. Armed with a booming serve, which earned him the nickname ‘Bofors’, and big groundstrokes, Bopanna should have done better than a highest career ranking of 213 in singles. But somehow, be it injuries or going down in the close matches, it never seemed to come together for him. If he can take heart from his doubles success and breathe life into his flailing singles career, Bopanna could provide the icing on the cake for a medal bound Indian tennis team.