Skupski/Murray Upset Top Seeds Cabal/Farah In Beijing
Jamie Murray/Neal Skupski earned one of the biggest wins of their new partnership on Wednesday, upsetting top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah of Colombia 6-4, 6-2 at the China Open in Beijing.
Cabal/Farah, the reigning Wimbledon and US Open champions, had won 11 of their past 12 matches, dating back to the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati in August, where they finished runner-up before winning their second consecutive major title in New York.
But Murray/Skupski, who joined forces in June, knocked off the No. 1 team in the ATP Doubles Race To London, converting five of six break points to reach the ATP 500 semi-finals. Murray/Skupski fell to the Colombians in the semi-finals of the US Open.
The Britons will next meet the winner of Ivan Dodig/Filip Polasek and Fabio Fognini/Dominic Thiem. Murray/Skupski, despite their late start to the season, have an outside chance of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held 10-17 November at The O2 in London. Murray/Skupski are currently in 17th place, with 1,540 points, 1,030 points behind Rajeev Ram/Joe Salisbury (2,570), who hold the eighth and final qualification spot.
In the only other doubles match of the day, Russians Karen Khachanov/Andrey Rublev ousted John Isner/Alexander Zverev 6-4, 3-6, 10-8 and will meet the winner of Chinese wild cards Mao-Xin Gong/Ze Zhang and second seeds Lukasz Kubot/Marcelo Melo. Kubot/Melo are second in the Doubles Race, with 3,445 points, and are next in line to qualify.
Bopanna/Shapovalov Battle Past 2017 Champ Uchiyama & Martin In Tokyo
Rohan Bopanna and Denis Shapovalov got off to a good start in their doubles campaign at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo, ousting 2017 champion Yasutaka Uchiyama and his partner Fabrice Martin 6-3, 7-6(3) after one hour and 21 minutes.
Although Uchiyama was the home favourite as a Japanese player, fans cheered loudly throughout for both teams, creating for an exciting atmosphere under the lights of Rakuten Card Arena.
“The fans are amazing here,” Shapovalov said. “We played a guy from Japan, [but] we still had a lot of people cheering for us. For me especially, I feel like it’s really important for my game, it really pumps me up and keeps me in it and it’s the same for Rohan, I’m sure.”
Bopanna and Shapovalov fell behind 0/3 in the second-set tie-break after failing to serve out the match at 6-5. But they reeled off seven consecutive points to advance to the quarter-finals. And the fans made sure to stick around to show them their appreciation.
“I think it’s fantastic to always play with a good atmosphere, especially when you play somebody from their own country. They want people to come out and watch,” Bopanna said. “I think it was a good match for us.”
Shapovalov will have to play two matches — one singles and one doubles — on Thursday as he attempts to keep his hopes alive in both draws. In singles, he will face 2017 Tokyo champion David Goffin, and in doubles, the Canadian-Indian duo will battle Nikola Mektic and Franko Skugor, who eliminated top seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos in the first round.
“I’m young, so I’m ready to go,” Shapovalov said, cracking a laugh.
In the other doubles match of the day, second seeds Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin moved past Divij Sharan and Artem Sitak 7-6(5), 6-3. The Frenchmen will play fourth seeds Mate Pavic/Bruno Soares or Dominic Inglot/Austin Krajicek for a place in the last four.