Stockholm: India's Rohan Bopanna and his Pakistani partner Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi on Friday advanced to the final of men's doubles of the Stockholm Open tennis tournament after a hard-fought victory over Marcos Baghdatis and Juan Martin del Potro.
The top-seeded Indo-Pak pair beat the duo of Baghdatis of Cyprus and Del Potro of Argentina 2-6, 6-2, 10-8 in a thrilling semifinal match of the 600,000 Euro tournament, which lasted one hour and eight minutes.
The 'Indo-Pak Express' had earlier beaten the German pair of Michael Kohlmann and Alexander Wask 7-6(5), 7-5 in the quarterfinals.
In the final, Bopanna and Aisam will take on the winner of the semifinal match between Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina and Brazilian Andre Sa and Brazilian pair of Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares.
Bopanna and Qureshi were rusty in the opening set as they struggled with their serves with four double faults to none from their opponents. Baghdatis and Potro were also much better on service returns as they bagged the first set in quick time.
The Indo-Pak pair, however, fought back in the second set with a much improved service game, which put pressure on their opponents, forcing them to committ unforced errors, and the match went to the decider.
The deciding set saw both the sides sparing no inch to their opponents but Bopanna and Qureshi came up with better serves and held their nerves at crucial moments to come out winners.
Bopanna and Qureshi, who had won the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany earlier this year, are currently No. 7 in the battle for London - the ATP World Tour Finals next month - with just three qualifying spots left for grab.