Bopanna-Shapovalov upset Farah-Cabal to enter Italian Open quarter-finals

The unseeded Indo-Canadian pair stunned the top-seeded Colombian duo and the defending Italian Open doubles champions in a tie-break.

By Utathya Nag

India’s Rohan Bopanna and his Canadian partner Denis Shapovalov upset Colombian top seeds Robert Farah and Juan Sebastian Cabal 6-3, 3-6, 10-5 via a tie-break to enter the Italian Open tennis doubles quarter-finals.

The shock win in Rome over the two-time Grand Slam champions sets up Bopanna and Shapovalov for a last-eight clash against the French team of Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin.

On Thursday, both teams started well, trading serves comfortably. Farah-Cabal looked good to take the early advantage having built up a 40-0 lead in the fifth game of the first set, with Shapovalov serving.

The Indo-Canadian pairing, however, denied Cabal and Farah the first break courtesy some smart net game by the veteran Bopanna and gritty baseline play from the young Canadian.

Bryan brothers reckon India’s Rohan Bopanna and Canada’s Denis Shapovalov can win a Grand Slam.

Riding the momentum, Bopanna and Shapovalov rallied to break the top seeds in the sixth to open up a 4-2 lead. The Colombians pushed their opponents hard in the very next game, but Bopanna saved a breakpoint to hold serve.

Serving for the set in the ninth, Shapovalov wrapped the first set up 6-3.

A set down, the Colombians came out all guns blazing in the second set. They broke Bopanna in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead.

Bopanna-Shapovalov tried hard to salvage the set, but Farah and Cabal, ranked 1-2 in the ATP Doubles Rankings, made no mistake. The Colombians took the second set 6-3 to draw level in the match and forced the tie-breaker.

In the first-to-10 points tie-breaker, Bopanna-Shapovalov raced to a 9-4 lead. With their backs to the wall, the top seeds saved a match point but eventually succumbed 10-5.

Farah and Cabal were the reigning the Italian Open doubles champions.

The upcoming fixture will be Bopanna and Shapovalov’s second quarter-final appearance on the bounce, having made it to the last eight at the US Open earlier this month.