Mahesh Bhupathi-Rohan Bopanna split after ending runners-up at ATP World Tour finale

History slipped out of the hands of Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna as the Indian pair lost the summit clash of the ATP World Tour finale to Spanish pair of Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez, on Monday.

Updated: November 13, 2012 09:36 IST
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History slipped out of the hands of Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna as the Indian pair lost the summit clash of the ATP World Tour finale to Spanish pair of Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez, on Monday.

The fifth seed Indian pair, making its debut as a pair at the elite event, lost the title clash 5-7 6-3 3-10 to the sixth seeded combine in one hour and 30 minutes.

No Indian pair has ever won the year-end finale although Leander Paes and Bhupathi reached the finals thrice together.

Now it's the fifth time that Bhupathi has ended runners-up at the event, where world's top-8 teams compete for the championship. With Paes he ended runner-up in 1997, 1999 and 2000 and with Max Mirnyi in 2010.

Bhupathi and Bopanna had beaten Paes and his Czech partner in the semifinals.

They end the 2012 season and their partnership with two titles -- Dubai and the Paris Masters.

It was the fifth time 38-year-old Bhupathi had lost in the final. But the duo, who won the Paris Masters earlier this month, won't be able to have another run at the title next year after Bopanna confirmed they have decided to split.

Bopanna, 32, will play with American Rajeev Ram, while Bhupathi will partner Daniel Nestor in the next season.

Asked if they would continue playing together next season, Bopanna said: "No. We're playing with different partners for the next season.

"I'm playing with Rajeev Ram next year. He comes to the tournament in Chennai every year. Just maybe a few days before Chennai we're going to start.

"Tennis wise, we've had a great two weeks and can't complain about that.

"I'm happy to take all the positives from the tennis tour and now look forward to the new partnership coming up."

Bhupathi added: "Rohan is getting married in 10 days. Till then it's only drinking and eating. I don't know about our respective partners but I start (2013) in Chennai.

"There were times in the year where, you know, the pundits of Indian tennis threw us under the bus, said that we're not good enough, said that these guys are jokers.

"But we believed in ourselves. We've beaten all the top teams there are to beat. We came through with flying colors, which I think is credit to us at the end of the day."

Granollers and Lopez became the second Spanish team to win the season-ending championships. The only other Spanish duo to win the championship are Juan Gisbert Sr and Manuel Orantes in 1975 at Stockholm.

The Spaniards took a 2-1 lead in the first set, after Granollers hit three successive forehands at Bopanna, who hit a backhand volley into the net on the deciding point.

However, Lopez was broken in the next game. At 5-5, Bhupathi mis-placed two serves to fall to 0/30. The 38-year-old Bhupathi made two further backhand volley errors, off Granollers forehands.

Serving for the set, Lopez faced sudden death deuce and break point, but Granollers intercepted a backhand volley to clinch the first set in 43 minutes.

Midway through the second set, at 3-4, the Indians set up two break point chances at 30/40. Lopez centred play on Bhupathi, less flashier and powerful than Bopanna, to recoup one points, but on the deciding point Granollers committed a forehand error.

Bopanna then closed out to 30 with the team's fifth ace of the set, which lasted 35 minutes.

Clever inter-play and defence by Granollers and Lopez gave them a 4-0 lead in the Match tie-break, in which Bhupathi and Bopanna could nor put away their volleys.

Soon the Spanish team was leading 9-3 and with Lopez serving for the match, Bhupathi hit a forehand volley long.

(With PTI and AFP inputs)

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  • Tennis
  • Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi
  • Rajeev Ram
  • Rohan Bopanna
  • Su-Wei Hsieh
  • Marcel Granollers

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