Indian Wells (US), Mar 19 (PTI) India’s Rohan Bopanna became the oldest ATP Masters 1000 champion when he and his Australian partner Matt Ebden claimed the men’s doubles crown at the BNP Paribas Open here.
The 43-year-old Bopanna and Ebden, 35, defeated top-seeded Wesley Koolhof of the Netherlands and Neil Skupski of Britain 6-3, 2-6, 10-8 in the final on Saturday.
“Truly special. It’s called Tennis Paradise for a reason,” said Bopanna, who was playing in his 10th ATP Masters 1000 final.
“I’ve been, over the years, coming here and seeing all these guys win for so many years. I’m really happy that Matt and I were able to do this and get this title here.
“It’s been some tough matches, close matches. Today we played against one of the best teams out there. Really happy that we got the trophy.” Bopanna thus surpassed Daniel Nestor of Canada, who had claimed the 2015 Cincinnati Masters to become the oldest champion at the age of 42.
“I spoke to Danny Nestor and I told him sorry I’m going to beat his record,” he joked. “Winning the title, that stays with me, so really happy with that.” It was the 43-year-old’s fifth Masters 1000 doubles title and first since he won in Monte Carlo in 2017. This was the third final of the year for the Indo-Australian duo. He now holds 24 tour-level trophies in his cabinet.
The Indo-Australian pair stunned defending and two-time desert titlists John Isner and Jack Sock in the semi-finals, while getting the better off Canadian singles stars Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov in the quarters.
Bopanna and Ebden had defeated Rafael Matos and David Vega Hernandez in their opening match.
A former World No. 3, Bopanna jumped four places to No. 11 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Rankings. PTI ATK KHS KHS
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