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Rohan Bopanna-Matthew Ebden pair moves to French Open second round with tough win

Storm Sanders was Australia’s hero after she won the first singles rubber before returning for the deciding doubles match alongside 38-year-old Samantha Stosur.

Rohan Bopanna of India and Matthew Ebden of Australia. File
| Photo Credit: Getty Images

Second seeds Rohan Bopanna and Matthew Ebden overcame fighting Brazilians Orlnado Luz and Marcelo Zormann in a testing three-set opening round at the French Open in Paris on June 2.

The Brazilians made life tough for the Australian Open champions who scraped through 7-5 4-6 6-4 in two hours and seven minutes.

Entering as an eighth alternate pair, Zormann and Luz would not have hoped to feature in the tournament but a spate of withdrawals cleared their way. They threatened to upset the second seeds but Bopanna and Ebden had the experience to shift momentum at crucial stages of the match.

The second seeds raced to a 4-1 lead, riding on a double break but the Brazilian put up a great fight to reel off four straight games to make it 5-5 in the opening set.

From there on, the Indo-Australian combine found a way to break Luz with Bopanna firing his returns from the baseline and Ebden supporting him with well-timed volley winners. The Australian served out the set with ease.

Zormann was broken in the opening game of the second set with Ebden and Zormann locking in a intense baseline rally in which the Brazilian erred on 30-40 to hand the advantage to the seeded team.

More drama followed, as now Bopanna was down 0-40. He saved the first two break chances with some accurate serving but Zormann blasted a winner on the third to make it even steven.

Ebden’s serve came under tremendous pressure in game four that featured six deuce points in nine intense minutes. The Australian finally held the serve with an overhead smash.

Ebden was put under pump again when he returned to serve in game eight. He began with a double fault and then hammered one forehand return on the net. Luz dispatched a volley winner at net on Ebden’s return on the next point to earn plenty of break chances.

The second seeds saved the first but Ebden double faulted again as the Brazilians led 5-3.

Luz came out to serve for the set and parity and had four set points to finish it but Bopanna was splendid — both at net and from baseline — as the second seeds broke again to bounce back.

However, the Indian dropped serve for the third time in the match and it was one-set all.

A break of serve in the fifth game gave Bopanna and Ebden advantage and they did not squander the chance this time with the Indian closing out the match.

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