Asiad tennis: Bopanna-Rutuja win gold in mixed doubles

Hangzhou, Sep 30 (UNI) India’s Rohan Bopanna and Rutuja Bhosale won the gold medal in mixed doubles event at the Asian Games 2023 here on Saturday.

The second-seeded Indian combo beat ninth seeds Tsung-hao Huang and Liang En-shuo of Chinese Taipei 2-6, 6-3, 10-4 in the final at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre.

The match lasted one hour and 14 minutes.

Bopanna began the match, which lasted an hour and 14 minutes, with a beautiful service game. However, Huang and Liang won two breaks in a row and held their serve to go 5-1 up, and eventually seal the first set 6-2.

Bopanna and Rutuja fought back well in the second set and there was nothing separating both teams in the opening seven games. The Indian pair, however, levelled up with a decisive break in the eighth game and took the set 6-3 to induce a match tie break.

In the decider, Bopanna-Bhosale took early advantage and raced to a 6-1 lead in no time. There was some late resurgence from Tsung-hao Huang and Liang En-shuo, but it wasn’t enough. The Indian tennis players maintained the momentum and managed to take the tie break 10-4, reported.

“I clearly had some nerves throughout the match, but not on the last point,” Bhosale said. “I was just thinking, ‘Give me my best serve right here,’ and I think I took my time to serve.”

Rutuja won her maiden Asian Games medal while Bopanna added to his gold medal from Jakarta 2018. This was India’s second medal in tennis at the Asian Games 2023, following a silver in the men’s doubles event.

India have now won seven medals in the mixed doubles category – including three gold – at the Asian Games. Leander Paes-Sania Mirza at Doha 2006 and Saketh Myneni-Sania Mirza at Incheon 2014 are the other mixed doubles champions.

Overall, India have now won 10 gold medals at the continental meet in tennis.

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