Bopanna-Qureshi lose tense opener in World Tour Finals

November 21st, 2011 - 2:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Rohan Bopanna London, Nov 21 (IANS) India’s Rohan Bopanna and his Pakistani partner Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi lost to third seeds Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor 6-7(2), 6-4, 9-11 in a gripping Group B round-robin match at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

The Canadian-Belarusian pair, who are making their team debut at the season finale at The O2 in London, improved their win-loss record 43-19 with the victory here Sunday night. Both players are former champions - Mirnyi in 2006 (w/Bjorkman) and Nestor in 2007 (w/Knowles), 2008 and 2010 (w/Zimonjic).

Mirnyi and Nestor took 2-0 and 4-2 leads in the first set, but Bopanna and Qureshi worked their way back with breaks off the Nestor serve. Mirnyi saved one set point at sudden-death deuce at 4-5, then the Belarusian-Canadian duo took early control of the tie-break to clinch the 47-minute opener.

After Qureshi recovered from 0/40 in the second game, ‘The Indo-Pak Express’ grew in confidence and broke Nestor’s serve for a third time a 3-2 lead in the second set. They maintained their advantage, by hitting 77 per cent of their first serves into court, to take the encounter to a Match tie-break.

In a tense finale, Bopanna ripped a forehand return winner past a net-rushing Nestor to open up a 3-1 lead in the Match tie-break. They went onto lead 6-3, before Mirnyi and Nestor started their comeback to level the score. Bopanna and Qureshi powered their way to 8-6, but Mirnyi and Nestor gained parity.

At 8-9, Qureshi saved one match point with a second serve ace out wide. But Mirnyi hit a finely placed lob winner for a 10-9 lead. Nestor closed out with a second serve ace to complete an eventful match in one hour and 41 minutes.

Bopanna and Qureshi had won previous meetings against Mirnyi and Nestor at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters in April and at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris last week. The pair drops to a 38-24 season record, highlighted by three titles.

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