The inaugural year of Tata Open Maharashtra witnessed some entertaining matches and high-voltage Tennis action. What made the tournament more special were the terrific comebacks seen on the courts. Let’s take a look at some epic nail-biters.
Gilles Simon vs Marin Cilic
The highly anticipated semi-final clash between Marin Cilic and Gilles Simon started on a terrific note for the Croatian. He won the first five games to take a 5-0 lead in the set. Simon could win just one game as Cilic bagged the first set 6-1. With the top seed looking in great touch, everybody backed Cilic to win the second set and advance into the final, but Simon had some other plans. The Frenchman started the second set positively to take a 3-0 lead. He was more aggressive and found his rhythm as he stood tall to take the second set 6-3. There was no looking back for Simon thereafter as he made sure Cilic does not get an upper hand in the deciding set. From leading 2-1, he took a comfortable lead of 5-2 before winning the third set 6-2 to make his way into the Singles final. Simon showed his class, composure and displayed his never-say-die attitude when it mattered the most.
Yuki Bhambri/Divij Sharan vs Robert Lindstedt/Franko Skugor
Playing against the top seeds, nobody had given a chance to the Indian pair in the second round of the tournament. But Bhambri/Sharan surprised everybody and won the first set 7-5. Lindstedt/Skugor played their best Tennis to bag the second set (6-2) without much sweat. With momentum on their side and experience under their belt, the top seeds were expected to win the Super Tiebreaker (ST). But with the backing of a huge home support and excellent play from the Indian duo, they went on to win the ST 10-6, to cause a major upset in the tournament. They were eventually defeated by Herbert/Simon in the next round, but the people got their money’s worth with that excellent comeback.
Kevin Anderson in the quarter and semi-finals
Tournament’s second seed, Kevin Anderson got a bye in his first round before defeating Thiago Monteiro in two sets in his second round. Anderson had to meet Mikhail Kukushkin and Benoit Paire in his quarter-final and semi-final clashes respectively. Both matches did not start as per the South African’s liking as he lost the first set in tie-breakers to hand his opponents an important lead. But when the chips were down Anderson rose high and played his best Tennis. While playing against Kukushkin, he went on to win the next two sets comfortably (6-4, 6-2) and while facing Paire, he had to put some more efforts (7-6, 6-1) before attaining the victory.
Pierre-Hugues Herbert vs Yuki Bhambri
Playing against the local boy Yuki Bhambri, France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert did not have a perfect start. He lost the first set 4-6 as an upset was seen on the horizon quite early in the match. Bhambri, one of the most promising Indian youngsters, had defeated Arjun Kadhe in his first round and looked good to win that match as well. But Herbert responded in the perfect way to take the next two sets 6-3, 6-4. Herbert not only advanced to the quarter-finals, but also defeated one of the two remaining Indians contestants. It’s never easy when the crowd is not on your side and the character shown by Pierre-Hugues Herbert was definitely commendable.
Benoit Paire vs Robin Haase
The third round match between Robin Haase and Benoit Paire was one of the most entertaining matches of the tournament. Wildcard entrant, Paire, started the match on a perfect note. Having beaten Marton Fucsovics in the earlier round, the Frenchman won the first set 7-5 but lost his plot in the second. Haase gave a perfect reply to win the second set 6-2 to set up an exciting contest. But the fourth seeded Paire, was not bogged down despite some aggressive play from Haase. Benoit Paire went on to win the third set 6-3 to advance into the quarter-final.