CALIFORNIA: Rohan Bopanna and Matthew Ebden finished their Indian Wells Open title run the way they started it, with a clutch performance in a Match Tie-break to clinch the title defeating Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski.
The unseeded champions upset top seeds Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski 6-3, 2-6, 10-8 in Sunday's Indian Wells final, with the 43-year-old Bopanna becoming the oldest ATP Masters 1000 trophy-winner.
The Indian-Australian duo defeated defending and two-time desert champions John Isner and Jack Sock in the semi-finals on Friday, after defeating Canadian singles stars Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov in the quarters.
Their first win came in a Match Tie-break over Rafael Matos and David Vega Hernandez. Now 11-4 in their first season together, Bopanna/Ebden are 2-1 in finals with a victory in Doha and a runner-up finish in Rotterdam.
Bopanna, who turned 43 on March 4, surpassed his former partner Daniel Nestor to become the oldest ATP Masters 1000 finalist and then broke the Canadian's record by becoming the oldest ATP Masters 1000 champion.
Bopanna was competing in his 10th ATP Masters 1000 final and now has 24 tour-level trophies after the win. Bopanna, a former World No. 3, climbed four spots to No. 11 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Rankings as a result of his trophy run.
Ebden, who won Wimbledon with fellow Australian Max Purcell in 2022, won his ninth tour-level title and first at the ATP Masters 1000 level. This tournament, the 35-year-old moved up 19 spots to No. 18 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Rankings, setting himself up for a new career high on Monday.
"Truly special. It's called Tennis Paradise for a reason. I've been, over the years, coming here and seeing all these guys win for so many years. I'm really happy that Matt and I were able to do this and get this title here. It's been some tough matches, close matches. Today we played against one of the best teams out there.
Really happy that we got the trophy," ATP.com quoted the Indian veteran assaying after clinching his fifth Masters 1000 trophy and first in Indian Wells.
"It takes everything. We call this maybe the fifth Grand Slam for a reason. We're working on our game. Even at our ages we're still improving, still gelling as a pair, our execution, our chemistry," said Ebden, speaking about the quick success of the new pairing.
"I spoke to Danny Nestor and I told him sorry I'm going to beat his record. Winning the title, that stays with me, so really happy with that," he said.
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