Bautista Agut, Medvedev to clash for Aircel Chennai Open title; Bopanna-Nedun make it all-India finals in doubles

7th January 2017

Nungambakkam, Jan. 7: Spain's No. 2 seed Roberto Bautista Agut will take on Russia's rising star Daniil Medvedev in the 22nd Aircel Chennai Open championship match here at the SDAT Stadium on Sunday evening.

World No. 14 Bautista Agut put up a clinical performance to rattle and humble France's No. 5 seed Benoit Paire 6-3, 6-3 in just over an hour. World No. 99 Medvedev took the longer route into his maiden ATP World Tour finals, coming back from one set down and saving a match point in the second to win 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2.

In the doubles, Rohan Bopanna and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan set the stage for an all-India final by beating US' Nicholas Monroe and New Zealand's Artem Sitak 7-6 (4), 6-4.

They will face Purav Raja and Divij Sharan in what promises to be an engrossing contest, with both pairs sailing through the rounds.

Bopanna-Nedunchezhiyan dominated the contest 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.

Bautista Agut, who will be playing his second finals here, believes that it won't be easy against Medvedev. "Yes, it is going to be a difficult match," he said, just after securing his place in the final. "He is tall, has a good serve and a number of strokes from the baseline. I will come prepared and play my best tennis," he added.

The 28-year-old Spaniard felt that he felt good after a long-fought three setter in the quarterfinals on Friday. "I won because I played well, no," he quipped, when asked to explain how he managed the victory. "I played a solid game, and did all the right things. I felt really good after spending so much time on the court last night," he added.

Bautista Agut got an opportunity in the fourth game itself but Paire saved both the break points, riding on his big serve. He got another one in the eighth game and Paire helped him by hitting a simple overhead volley into the net. The set ended in just 30 minutes.

He got a break in the opening game of the second set itself. Paire lost his cool and suffered two more breaks to make it a total mismatch.

Earlier, Israel's 31-year-old journeyman Sela looked like he had the match well within his grasp as he covered the court smartly and mixed his shots almost to perfection. His deceptive double-handed flicks ofte caught Medvedev guessing giving him the edge. When he saw an opportunity, he added extra power into his forehand drives too for maximum effect.

Sela got the upper hand in the seventh game when Medvedev missed an overhead volley. The next game proved to be the most absorbing, with both players engaging in long end-to-end rallies. Sela faced two break points but managed to save both of them. He held on to his serve to go 5-3 up.

Medvedev changed tack at this stage, attacking the ball a lot more aggressively and looking for winners. He held serve for 4-5 but couldn't find a way to crack Sela to lose the set in 40 minutes.

The quality of tennis peaked in the second set, with both players lifting their games. Medvedev broke in the fourth game to jump into the lead 3-1. But Sela, against the run of play, brought right back. They held serves till 4-4 before Sela got the much-needed breakthrough in the next game and looked set to wrap up the set and match too.

He was on match point too but Medvedev whipped out a forehand that barely caught the line. He took the next two points to save the game and set. In the eventual tie-breaker, Medvedev rode on his powerful serve to jump to 4-2 and annexed the next three points to win 7-2.

Sela, perhaps still brooding over the missed opportunity, yielded his next game to go down 0-1. Medvedev took charge of the match and cruised away to 4-2. He got another break in the seventh game by which time Sela had all but given up.


Singles semifinals: Daniil Medvedev (RUS) beat Dudi Sela (ISR) 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2; Roberto Bautista Agut (SPN) beat Benoit Paire (FRA) 6-3, 6-3

Doubles semifinals: Rohan Bopanna/Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan (IND) beat Nicholas Monroe (US)/ Artem Sitak (NZ) 7-6 (4), 6-4

Watch Aircel Chennai Open LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on Sony SIX and Sony SIX HD, 5:00 PM onwards.