Bengaluru: Tennis was the ultimate winner at the KSLTA Stadium courts as almost all the matches – singles quarterfinals and doubles semi-finals went down to the wire in the $ 162,500 Bengaluru Open, giving the spectators their money’s worth. 

Indian tennis legend Leander Paes doubled their joy by reaching the title round along with his partner Matthew Abden. The Indo-Aussie pair quelled the challenge of the second seeds Jonathan Erlich of Israel and Andrei Vasilevski of Belarus 6-4, 3-6, 10-7 amidst the chanting of Leander’s name by the supportive fans.

Also read: Indian challenge ends in singles

The only match that didn’t produce the fireworks was the second semi-final between another Indo-Australian pair of Saketh Myneni (India) and Matt Reid who had to concede their match to an all Indian pair of Purav Raja and Ramkumar Ramanathan, seeded fourth here. The latter had won the first set 7-5 and were tied 15-15 in the first game of the second set when Reid fell down and hurt his knee.

Earlier in the day, Italian Julian Ocleppo set the trend of long matches while ousting his fancied opponent and 13th seed Ilya Ivashka of Belarus in a grueling match that lasted for two hours and 40 minutes with the 22-year-old emerging as a 7-6(4), 6-7(3), 6-4 winner.

Ocleppo faces another stiff hurdle in the semi-finals where he is pitted against fourth seed James Duckworth of Australia who overcame ninth seed Thomas Fabbiano of Italy 6-7(5), 6-0, 6-2.

Another seed bit the dust in the form of No. 3 Yuichi Sugita of Japan who went down to unseeded Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi 7-6(5), 5-7, 4-6. Bonzi now meets second seed Stefano Travaglia of Italy who overcame a stiff challenge from 11th seed Blaz Rola of Slovakia before prevailing 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 in 1 hour and 56 minutes.

Ocleppo was down 2-5 in the opening set after he got broken early in the second game. However, he came back strongly to win three games on the trot to tie at 5-5 and take the set into a tie-breaker which he won. “My comeback in the first set was very crucial because the match could have ended by the second set,” said Ocleppo. After the opponents had traded a break each in the 3rd and 4th games, Ocleppo lost the tie-break even as he had two break points.

A stiff battle ensued in the decider with none giving their rival an inch of their ground. The Italian, who was on a break point in the ninth game, hit an awesome down the line shot to surge 5-4 ahead.

Meanwhile, a clinic for juniors was held were around 40 children attended the session with leading pro Niki Ponnappa giving them the tips. Their joy doubled when their idol Paes too joined them.

Results

Singles (Quarter-finals)

Julian Ocleppo (ITA) bt [13] Ilya Ivashka (BLR) 7-6(4), 6-7(3), 6-4

[4] James Duckworth (AUS) bt [9] Thomas Fabbiano (ITA) 6-7(5), 6-0, 6-2

[2] Stefano Travaglia (ITA) bt [11] Blaz Rola (SLO) 6-4, 4-6, 6-2

Benjamin Bonzi (FRA) bt [3] Yuichi Sugita (JPN) 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-4 

Doubles (Semi-finals)

Matthew Ebden (AUS)/Leander Paes (IND) bt [2] Jonathan Erlich (ISR) / Andrei Vasilevski (BLR) 6-4, 3-6, 10-7

[4] Purav Raja (IND) / Ramkumar Ramanathan (IND) bt Saketh Myneni (IND) / Matt Reid (AUS) 7-5, Conceded

Singles Semi-final line-up (2 pm onwards)

Ocleppo Vs Duckworth

Bonzi Vs Travaglia  

Doubles final (6.30 pm)

Paes/Ebden Vs Raja/Ramanathan