The highly anticipated Quarter-Finals of the Tata Open Maharashtra took place on the fourth day at the Mhalunge Balewadi Stadium in Pune. As expected, the matches were closely fought and this is how it all panned out:
Marin Cilic vs Pierre-Hugues Herbert
This match at the Centre Court was a one-sided affair as top seed Marin Cilic cruised to a 6-3, 6-2 win over Herbert. The Croatian was clinical in his serves and went hard on his opponent throughout the match. He won the first set in quick time and continued his dominance in the second set too, moving into the semi-finals with ease.
Gilles Simon vs Ricardo Ojeda Lara
Court 1 witnessed France’s Gilles Simon taking on Spain’s Ricardo Ojeda Lara in another one-sided quarter-final. Simon, who won his last two rounds in straight sets, started off positively. The Spaniard tried his best but could not match the Frenchman’s class as he won the first set (6-2) quite easily. A fightback was expected from Ricardo, but Simon was at his best form today. He went on to win the second set 6-3 and progressed to the semis in straight sets.
Mikhail Kukushkin vs Kevin Anderson
Seventh seed, Kukushkin had a big task ahead of him in the quarters when he faced the gigantic Kevin Anderson. As expected, it was a closely contested first set with each player giving his best. The first set eventually went into the tiebreaker where Kukushkin, held his nerve to overpower the South African and win the set 7-6(7-3). In a perfect reply, Anderson took the attack on Kukushkin in the second set. Anderson was able to break the Kazakh’s serve to take the second set 6-4. With momentum on his side, Anderson charged towards a 4-1 lead before eventually winning the third set 6-2.
Robin Haase vs Benoit Paire
Netherlands’ Robin Haase faced France’s Benoit Paire on Court 1 in another singles quarter-final. Both players were playing neck-to-neck in the first set, with Paire being the aggressive one. Paire eventually broke Haase’s serve to win the first set 7-5. But the fifth seed, responded brilliantly and took the attack to Paire. He broke the Frenchman’s serve to win the second set 6-2 and make it 1-1 in the match. With everything to play for, both players were giving their all from the start of the third set. Though Haase put his best effort, Paire was much better as he broke the Dutchman’s serve, not once but twice. He was the worthy winner with a score of 7-5, 2-6, 6-3.
Robert Lindstedt / Franko Skugor vs Yuki Bhambri / Divij Sharan
The top seeded doubles pair had to face the Indian duo in their quarter-final tie on Court 1. Bhambri and Sharan, who defeated Kavcic and Djere in straight sets yesterday, were off to a positive start. But Lindstedt/Skugor were playing at their best as well. The Indian duo broke serve in the 11th game to take a lead of 6-5 and eventually win the set (7-5) on their serve. Lindstedt and Skugor struck back in the second set and broke serve in the 6th game to take an all-important lead. They surged to win the set 6-2 in quick time. In the Super tiebreaker, the tables turned for the Indian pair who took lead and won it 10-6 to bag the match 7-5, 2-6, 10-6.
Rohan Bopanna / Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan vs Pierre-Hugues Herbert / Gilles Simon
The Indian pair was greeted with a huge roar when they arrived at the Centre Court as they got ready to play the French pair of Herbert and Simon. The Frenchmen were more coordinated and fast in their play and went on to win the first set (6-3) convincingly. It was another exciting contest in the second set with the Indians trying desperately to win the set and keep the match alive. Each pair won their serving games till 6-5, but the French duo capitalised on Jeevan’s serve to win the set 7-5. The French duo marched on in the semis with a straight sets (6-3, 7-5) win.
Adil Shamasdin / Neal Skupski vs Robin Haase / Matwe Middelkoop
The second seeded Dutch pair of Haase and Middelkoop started the match on a positive note. Shamasdin and Skupski were struggling to get their rhythm right and lost the first set 3-6. Shamasdin and Skupski had a positive start to the second set and were looking good to win it as well. But the Dutch pair showed their class to claw their way back and won the second set 7-5 to advance to the semis in straight sets.
We are all set for the semi-finals tomorrow, which promises to be another fascinating day of Tennis at the Mhalunge Balewadi Stadium. The Order of Play for 5th December stands as follows :
Centre Court (Matches start at 5pm) :
Marin Cilic (1) VS Gilles Simon
Benoit Paire (4) VS Kevin Anderson (2)
Yuki Bhambri / Divij Sharan VS Pierre-Hugues Herbert / Gilles Simon
Court 1 (Matches start at 6pm)
Roman Jebavy/Jiri Vesely VS Robin Haase/Matwe Middelkoop (2)