Monday, October 8, 2007

Even luck deserts Bopanna at ATP Stockholm

Spain's Albert Montanes put paid to the hopes of India's Rohan Bopanna with a 7-6(5), 6-1 win in the first round of the ATP Stockholm Open.

Bopanna, who had entered the main draw as a lucky loser, squandered an impressive 4-1 lead in the first set to lose to the Spaniard in little more than an hour.

Montanes, a claycourter ranked 48th in the world, was expected to be a tough opponent so it was a surprise when the 252-ranked Bopanna broke him in the second game and the scoreboard soon read 4-1 in his favour.

But the Indian's lead in the first set was wiped out when Montanes held serve twice and broke back in the seventh game.

At four games apiece, Bopanna served an ace - his first of the match. Both players then held their serves to take the set into the tiebreak.

Bopanna took the first point there but soon fell behind 4-6. He managed to save one setpoint but lost the next. Interestingly, Bopanna had won more points (39) compared to Montanes (37).

When the set slipped from his grasp, Bopanna's confidence deflated, just as it had deserted him in his match against Peter Wessels in the qualifiers of the indoor tournament.

Montanes raced away to a 3-0 lead, breaking Bopanna's serve in a game which went to deuce. Two games later, the Indian number one was down 0-40 on his own serve and Montanes broke him again lead 5-1. The Spaniard served for the match in the following game and won on the first of two matchpoints.

In the doubles event, Bopanna survives in partnership with Belgium's Olivier Rochus. The duo had beaten Thomas Johansson of Sweden and Todd Perry of Australia 6-2,6-7(4),10-8 in a thrilling first round encounter on Sunday that lasted for an hour and 22 minutes.

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