Balaji-Jeevan storm into final, keep Indian challenge alive at 5th Tata Open Maharashtra

French star Bonzi clinches thriller against World No. 35 Van de Zandschulp to enter final

Pune, January 6, 2023: In-form Indian pair of N. Sriram Balaji and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan extended their brilliant run at the fifth edition of the Tata Open Maharashtra to enter the doubles final after thrashing Julian Cash and Henry Patten 6-4, 7-5 in the Last-4 clash at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune on Friday.

With this convincing win, the Tamil Nadu-born duo also kept the Indian challenge alive at the on-going edition of South Asia’s only ATP 250 event, conducted by the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) in association with the Government of Maharashtra for the fifth year in Pune.

After facing some challenge from the British pair initially, Balaji and Jeevan got into the rhythm quickly and took home the first set 6-4 comfortably.

The second set witnessed a neck-and-neck competition with scores locked at 5-5. However, the Indians, who have played exceptionally so far after getting entry as an alternative pair,  took charge to win the next two successive games and advanced in the final.

They will take on Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen in the title clash on Saturday. Gille-Vliegen beat top-seeded Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4) in the other doubles Last-4 clash.

Earlier, the French tennis star Benjamin Bonzi registered a sensational 7-6 (5), 6-7 (5), 6-1 victory against the World No. 35 Botic van de Zandschulp to progress into the singles final.

The 26-year-old Bonzi began the semi-final by winning an exciting opening set but the No. 2 seed Van de Zandschulp fought-back well, taking away the next which saw equally intense battle between the two as both the sets went into tie-breakers.

Bozi, however, shifted the gears impressively in the decider and looked in complete command as he not only made a spectacular comeback to pocket the set in a dominating fashion but also clinched the nail-biting three-setter.

The World No. 60 Bonzi will face Tallon Griekspoor in the final on Saturday. Griekspoor, ranked 95th in the world, sent packing No. 8 seed Aslan Karatsev 7-6 (4), 6-1 in the other semi-final.

The prestigious tournament, owned by IMG and managed by RISE Worldwide, is sponsored by Tata Motors.

Finals will be played on Saturday.

Where to watch: Sports18 – 1 SD, Sports18 – 1 HD and JioCinema.