Indian veteran Rohan Bopanna and his partner, Australian Matt Ebden, have entered the men’s doubles semi-final of the Australian Open.
Bopanna will become the oldest first-time World No. 1 at the age of 43, when the latest ATP rankings update is released on Monday after the conclusion of the grand slam tournament.
The second-seed Indo-Aussie pair defeated the sixth-seed Argentine duo Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) at the Margaret Court Arena.
After beating fellow Aussies and wildcard entry James Duckworth and Marc Polmans in a tight three setter for their first round, the pair have had a fairly smooth run in this year’s tournament, knocking out doubles Grand Slam winner Nikola Mektic and his partner, former doubles number one Wesley Koolhof in Round 3.
The quarterfinal win propels Bopanna ahead of the current World No. 1, USA’s Austin Krajicek, in the ATP Rankings. Krajicek, alongside his Croatian partner Ivan Dodig, bowed out in the second round.
Bopanna and Ebden will next take on the Czech-Chinese pair of Tomas Machac and Zhizhen Zhang in the semifinals.
Last year the Indian ace became the oldest man to qualify for a grand slam final in the Open era, when he and Ebden lost the US Open final. In addition to their run at the US Open, the pair reached the final at four ATP Masters tournaments and appeared at the ATP Finals in Turin.
Bopanna additionally boasts the distinction of being the oldest player to clinch a men’s doubles title at a Masters event. This achievement was accomplished last year at the age of 43 when he, along with Ebden, emerged victorious at Indian Wells.
Indian fans will be following the Men’s Doubles event closely, easpecially after Sumit Nagal’s singles journey ended early on, despite a spectacular start.