Sunday, October 7, 2007

Bopanna fails to make the grade at ATP Stockholm

Rohan Bopanna, India's top-ranked singles player, was denied a place in the main draw of the ATP Stockholm Open by Dutchman Peter Wessels.

In the second round of qualifying on Sunday, Wessels ousted 'Bofors' Bopanna 7-5, 6-2 on Court number 1 of the indoor tournament in the Swedish capital.

Bopanna, ranked 252 in the world, had started well - blazing five aces as the two players picked up three games apiece. One breakpoint had come Bopanna's way early in the match but he failed to capitalise on it - something he was to rue later.

At five games all, Wessels seized his chance when Bopanna gifted him two breakpoints while serving at 15-40. The Indian saved the first but the Dutchman grabbed the next to break serve and lead 6-5.

The 197-ranked Wessels then held his nerve to serve out the next game and take the first set in 33 minutes.

Interestingly, at this stage Bopanna was the better player - with a higher first serve percentage (58%), more aces(7) and fewer doublefaults(1). But the crucial points had all gone to Wessels.

The loss of the first set seemed to affect Bopanna's play and Wessels broke him again in the third game of the second set. The Indian wilted under pressure and Wessels was soon 5-1 up.

Indian hopes were resurrected when Bopanna held serve in the seventh game and then went up 30-15 up on Wessel's serve. But the tall Dutchman sent down his seventh and eighth aces to clinch the set and the match in just 58 minutes.

UPDATE: Thanks to last minute withdrawals, Bopanna has managed to get a main draw spot as a lucky loser at the ATP Stockholm Open despite losing in the qualifying rounds. Click here for story.

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