India’s Rohan Bopanna and his Danish partner Frederik Nielsen bowed out of the Astana Open doubles event after losing to El Salvador’s Marcelo Arevalo and Bosnia and Herzegovina's Tomislav Brkic in their first-round match on Thursday.
In what was a thrilling contest involving three tie-breakers in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, Bopanna-Nielsen went down 7(7)-6(5), 6(3)-7(7), 5-10.
The Indo-Danish duo found themselves on the backfoot in the opening stages after being broken by Arevalo and Brkic in the opening game of the first set.
Trailing 5-4 and their opponents serving for the set in the 10th game, Bopanna and Nielsen stepped up at the crucial moment to earn their first break of the match and levelled things up at 5-5.
With the momentum having shifted in their favour, the Indo-Danish team pushed their advantage home and won the opening set 7(7)-6(5) via tie-breaker.
In the second set, Bopanna and Nielsen gained the early advantage after breaking their opponents’ serve in the third game. Arevalo-Brkic, though, returned the favour in the sixth game, setting up an intriguing finish.
Trailing 5-4 again, Bopanna-Nielson took two games on the bounce to edge ahead. But the Indo-Danish duo lost their serve in the 12th game, failing to wrap the match up. It would prove to be costly.
Like the first, the second set, too, went into the tie-breaker. But this time it was Arevalo and Brkic who came out on top by a 7-3 margin.
At 1-1 after two sets, the match tie-breaker was forced, where Bopanna and Nielsen squandered an early 3-point lead to lose it 10-5.
Bopanna, who reached the European Open doubles final in Antwerp earlier this week with Matwe Middelkoop, had partnered up with Nielsen for the ATP 250 event in Kazakhstan.