Bopanna/Ebden Win Indian Wells Doubles Title In Match Tie-Break
Rohan Bopanna and Matthew Ebden finished their BNP Paribas Open title run the way they started it, with a clutch performance in a Match Tie-break. The unseeded champions upset top seeds Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski 6-3, 2-6, 10-8 in Sunday's Indian Wells final, with the 43-year-old Bopanna becoming the oldest ATP Masters 1000 trophy-winner.
"Truly special. It's called Tennis Paradise for a reason," the Indian veteran said after clinching his fifth Masters 1000 trophy and first in Indian Wells. "I've been, over the years, coming here and seeing all these guys win for so many years. I'm really happy that Matt and I were able to do this and get this title here. It's been some tough matches, close matches. Today we played against one of the best teams out there. Really happy that we got the trophy."
The Indian-Australian pairing knocked off defending and two-time desert titlists John Isner and Jack Sock in Friday's semi-finals and beat Canadian singles stars Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov in the quarters. Their opening victory came in a Match Tie-break against Rafael Matos and David Vega Hernandez.
Now 11-4 in their first season together, Bopanna/Ebden are 2-1 in finals with a victory in Doha and a runner-up finish in Rotterdam.
"It takes everything. We call this maybe the fifth Grand Slam for a reason," said Ebden, speaking about the quick success of the new pairing. "We're working on our game. Even at our ages we're still improving, still gelling as a pair, our execution, our chemistry."
Bopanna, who turned 43 on 4 March, passed his former partner Daniel Nestor to become the oldest ATP Masters 1000 finalist and again beat the Canadian's mark by becoming the oldest champion at the prestigious level.
"I spoke to Danny Nestor and I told him sorry I'm going to beat his record," he joked. "Winning the title, that stays with me, so really happy with that."
Bopanna was playing in his 10th ATP Masters 1000 final and now holds 24 tour-level trophies following the victory. A former World No. 3, Bopanna moved up four places to No. 11 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Rankings behind the trophy run.
Ebden, who won the 2022 Wimbledon title with fellow Aussie Max Purcell, won his ninth tour-level title and his first at the ATP Masters 1000 level. The 35-year-old moved up 19 places to No. 18 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Rankings this tournament, setting himself up for a new career high on Monday.
"Bops and I spoke about it at the beginning of this year. We said we're not here to make up numbers," Ebden added. "We want to win the Slams, we want to win the Masters, the 500s, and try to get to that No. 1 ranking. That's what it's about. Today's a big step in that direction."