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Bopanna/Koolhof Capture Team Debut Title In Doha

Rohan Bopanna and Wesley Koolhof lifted the first ATP Tour trophy of the decade at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open on Friday, beating Luke Bambridge and Santiago Gonzalez 3-6, 6-2, 10-6.

In their first event as a pairing, Bopanna and Koolhof won five straight points from 4/4 in the Match Tie-break before taking the title on their third championship point. Earlier in the day, the third seeds defeated second seeds Henri Kontinen and Franko Skugor 7-5, 6-2 to reach the championship match after a partial washout on Thursday.

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“It is nice when you get that success immediately,” said Bopanna. “I am really happy that I got this opportunity to come to Doha to play for the very first time. I’ve always played in India. When Wes was available, especially after such a successful 2019, it was a nice opportunity for me to play with him… It is good to start off the year with a title.”

This victory improves Bopanna and Koolhof’s impressive individual records at the start of ATP Tour seasons. This is third time in four years that both men have claimed titles in the opening week (also 2017, ’19).

“In my off-season, I must be doing something pretty well,” said Bopanna. “I don’t know what it is, but if anybody wants their first title, come to India and train with Bopanna in the off-season. That’s the secret.”

“Last year, I won in Brisbane and three years ago I won in the second week in Sydney,” said Koolhof. “I am always starting off the season well, so I think it is time for holidays again.”

Bambridge and Gonzalez had triumphed in two Match Tie-breaks to reach the championship match, including their 2-6, 6-2, 10-4 semi-final win against Frederik Nielsen and Tim Puetz. The British-Mexican partnership trailed Nielsen and Puetz 6-2, 0-2 when play resumed on Friday morning.

Bopanna and Koolhof receive 250 FedEx ATP Doubles Ranking points and split $76,870 in prize money. Bambridge and Gonzalez gain 150 points and share $39,400.

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