Bopanna-Shapovalov to face top seeds in Italian Open last 16
The Indo-Canadian duo won their first-round match in straight sets to set up a clash against the Colombian duo of Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah.
The unseeded Indo-Canadian pairing, who reached the quarters of the US Open earlier this month, will face the top seeds Robert Farah and Juan Sebastian Cabal – both from Colombia - in the next round of fixtures in Rome.
Farah and Cabal, ranked 1-2 in the ATP Doubles Rankings, are two-time Grand Slam champions and have won the previous two editions of the Italian Open doubles event together.
In the first round match, Bopanna-Shapovalov were dealt an early blow as the big-serving South American team broke them in the second game of the first set and raced to a 3-0 lead.
The Indo-Canadian duo finally clinched their first game of the match while serving in the fourth and that proved to be the turning point of the set. Bopanna and Shapovalov proceeded to break Garin and Pella in the fifth and seventh games to turn the tables for a 4-3 lead.
The Argentine-Chilean duo came close to levelling it up as they threatened to break Bopanna’s serve in the eight, but Bopanna-Shapovalov held their nerves to save two break points and win the game.
With both teams holding their respective serves in the next two games, the Indo-Canadian pair secured the opening set 6-4.
In the opening phase of the second set, both sides displayed some entertaining tennis, punctuated by big serves and some thrilling rallies.
But it was Bopanna and Shapovalov who finally managed to force the issue, breaking their opponents in the fifth game to make it 3-2.
Pella and Garin upped the tempo in a last-ditch attempt to claw their way back into the contest. However, with the experienced Bopanna holding fort and Shapovalov patrolling the baseline with authority, the South Americans failed to make any inroads.
The second set eventually ended 6-4 in Bopanna-Shapovalov’s favour, as the duo wrapped up the match in straight sets.
Ankita Raina out of ITF France event
India’s top-ranked women’s singles tennis player Ankita Raina, meanwhile, bowed out of the ITF France 32A clay-court event after she and her Dutch partner Rosalie Van der Hoek lost 7-5, 2-6, 10-8 against Britain’s Samantha Murray Sharan and Germany’s Julia Wachaczyk in doubles first round.
Raina will play in the French Open qualifiers in Paris next week.