Rohan Bopanna and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan edged past Nick Monroe and Artem Sitak in a gripping semi-final to set up all-Indian summit clash in the Chennai Open doubles game on Saturday.
The Indian duo, who will meet Purav Raja and Divij Sharan in the final, defeated the US-New Zealand pair by 7-6 (4), 6-4.
In the first set, Bopanna-Nedunchezhiyan dominated the opponents, but had to wait till the tiebreaker to assert their supremacy. In the second set too, they had to wait till the last game to pull it off.
A home team is set to take the trophy after five years as the last time an Indian side triumphed here was in 2011 when Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi took the title.
The legendary Lee-Hesh pair won five titles here at the Nugumbakkam stadium. While the established pair of Sharan and Raja will gun for their third ATP title together, Bopanna and Jeevan are combining only for second time in their career. "I am happy to see that first time ever two Indian teams will play in the final. It has never happened in the world," Bopanna said. "We fought hard, it's good to be in final. It does not matter who wins in final, it will be a win for India," he added.
While Bopanna's big serves have always been an advantage, left-handed Jeevan today served extremely well and that played a crucial role in team's win. Not only this, Jeevan also returned well and found winners to win some crucial points.
It was a tight match with two pairs breaking each other once and set got stretched to the tie-breaker, in which the Indians prevailed with Bopanna winning two crucial points.
It was Jeevan, who was broken in the third game but the Indians broke match immediately to make it even.
Jeevan hit a forehand winner in the eighth game to reach the deciding point but they could not capitalise and it stayed on level terms.
Bopanna's booming serves meant that Indians were not under pressure on those games but Jeevan while serving to stay in the set too served solid, closing the game at love.
Sitam served at 3-4 in the tie-breaker, where Monroe failed to put away a volley to hand Indians the advantage.
Bopanna then came up with a crushing service return winner to earn three set points. They converted second with Bopanna hitting an ace.
Jeevan hit a well-calculated lob at 30-40 when Sitak served and they had a chance to get the crucial break. Bopanna went for a backhand winner but hit wide. The thought was right but lack of execution denied Indians the chance.
The Indians again went up 30-0 on Monroe's serve in the eighth game with Jeevan finding a forehand winner but their opponents fought through to hold.
Monroe again made a volley error at 30-all on Bopanna's return to hand Indians a match point and error on the following point handed Indians the win.
(With inputs from PTI)