Dubai: The ‘Indo-Pak Express’ of Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi gelled for a debut doubles crown together with an emphatic 6-4, 6-3 win over top seeds Nenad Zjimonjic and Daniel Nestor at the Dubai Duty Free Men’s Championships here late on Saturday.
For Bopanna, it was a second Dubai title following his first one that came in 2012 in the company of Mahesh Bhupathi, while for Qureshi this was a dream first in the ATP 500 category.
The Indo-Pak pair had lost to Zimonjic and Nestor in the final in two close sets at the Apia International in Sydney at the beginning of the season. Nestor was contesting his 137th doubles final while his Serb partner was appearing in his 82nd.
Boosting their confidence further was the fact that they had strolled into the Dubai final without dropping a single set. However, it seemed to count for nothing against an opposition that was pumped by the large presence of fans from their home countries.
“I think the key for our win was backing each other even when things were not exactly going well,” Bopanna said.
There were very few moments when Bopanna and Qureshi felt threatened by their higher-ranked opponents as they complemented each other perfectly to come up with a break in the 10th and take the first set 6-4 in 34 minutes.
In the second set, things were pretty much the same till Zimonjic had his serve broken in the fourth game and then Qureshi held to go 4-1 ahead. After that it was a real formality as the Pakistani player served out 6-3 in 33 minutes.
Both Zimonjic and Nestor are former champions in Dubai. The 41-year-old Canadian won here in the company of Mark Knowles in 2002, while Zimonjic triumphed along with Frenchman Fabrice Santoro in 2007.
A win here for Nestor would have been even more significant as the player from Canada would assume sole ownership of third place in the Open Era doubles title leaders list. The experienced player is currently tied with Todd Woodbridge in third place with 83 titles, behind only the Bryan brothers Mike (96 titles) and Bob (94).