India’s Rohan Bopanna and his Netherlands partner Wesley Koolhof advanced to the semi-finals of the Doha Open tennis tournament by winning in straight sets on Wednesday.
The third-seeded Indo-Dutch pair of Bopanna and Coolhoff defeated Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland and Frances Tiafoe of the US 6-3, 6-4. They next face Henri Kontinen and Franco Skugor, who defeated Kane and Neil Skupski of America 6-7 (2), 6-4, 13-11.
Bopanna is the top-ranked doubles player from India. Bopanna who is returning to the competitive tennis after recovering from a shoulder and knee injury is playing his first big tournament in the build-up to the Tokyo Olympics in July. The Tokyo Olympics will be Bopanna’s third successive appearance at the quadrennial event.
Bopanna is the second-ranked Indian in the ATP’s doubles rankings as he is ranked 42. While Divij Sharan, Boppana’s likely partner for the Tokyo Olympics, is ranked ten places lower to Bopanna. Divij Sharan is ranked 52nd in the ATP’s double rankings.
However, the year did not start on a good note for India’s Divij Sharan and his New Zealand partner Artem Sitak as they crashed out of the tournament after losing 6-7 (4), 2-6 to France’s Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin in the first round.
Bopanna in an earlier interview with the Times of India had claimed that he and Divij are both looking to improve their individual ranking in order to be eligible to participate in the Tokyo Olympics 2020. Bopanna said, “Divij and I are trying to qualify for the Olympics as a team. First, we have to make sure our individual rankings are high enough. Whoever we are playing with on the Tour, we are trying to make sure that by the time the French Open comes, which is the time for the cut, our rankings are high enough to qualify, so that we have a team representing India.”