Rohan Bopanna and his Romanian partner Florin Mergea beat fifth seeds Nenad Zimonjic and Marcin Matkowski 6-2, 6-7(5), 11-9 to capture the prestigious Madrid Masters title at the Caja Magica on Sunday. This is the third title of the year for Bopanna after having triumphed earlier in the season at Sydney and Dubai with former partner Daniel Nestor.
Rohan Bopanna/Florin Mergea save match point
Rohan Bopanna teamed up with the world no. 19 Florin Mergea this year after splitting with the veteran Canadian Daniel Nestor as the hard court season ended in Miami. The pair soon started showing spark on clay and reached the final in their first tournament this season at Casablanca. Bopanna and Mergea had played once last year with decent results as they had then reached the semi-finals of Shanghai Masters.
At the Madrid Masters, Bopanna and Mergea faced some tough opposition as they were stretched to the super tie-break in three out of their four wins en route to reaching the final.
The unseeded Indo-Romanian duo stormed out to a 3-0 and 4-1 lead in the Madrid final as Zimonjic and Matkowski struggled to find their rhythm. Bopanna and Mergea clinched the first set 6-2 in just 23 minutes.
In the second set, the Serbian-Polish team regrouped to put the pressure on the Indo-Romanian duo and broke them in the third game. However, they could not consolidate the break as Bopanna/Mergea soon broke back with some strong returns.
The set headed to a tie-break where despite having an early lead of 4-1, Bopanna and Mergea failed to close out. Zimonjic and Matkowski came back to take the second set 7-6(5).
The super tie-break turned out to a thrilling affair where once again, Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea raced to a 6-0 lead. But with some exquisite volleys from the experienced Zimonjic and a couple of forehand errors from Mergea, the match was soon back on level terms at 7-7.
The Indo-Romanian pair faced a match point at 8-9 as another of Mergea’s forehands found the net. But they held their nerves well and with some strong serves from the Indian ace, Florin Mergea and Rohan Bopanna emerged victorious 6-2, 6(5)-7, 11-9 in 85 minutes.
This is Rohan’s first clay title and his 13th career crown overall. As for Mergea, this is his fourth career triumph.
Let us hope Rohan and Florin can continue their magical run as the tour moves to Rome next week.