New Delhi, October 1: Veteran Rohan Bopanna and Rutuja Bhosale survived a first-set scare and staged a remarkable comeback to win the gold medal in the mixed doubles Tennis event at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China on Saturday.
The second-seeded Indian duo defeated 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.
For Rutuja this was her maiden Asian Games medal while Rohan Bopanna added to his gold medal from Jakarta 2018. This was India’s second medal in tennis at the Asian Games following a silver in the men’s doubles event.
Rohan began the match with a terrific service game. However, Tsung-hao Huang and Liang En-shuo 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 Indians 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-Rutuja 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 Indians maintained the momentum and managed to take the tiebreak 10-4.
"I clearly had some nerves throughout the match, but not on the last point,” Rutuja said. “I was just thinking, 'Give me my best serve right here,' and I think I took my time to serve.”
India has 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 has now won 10 gold medals at the continental meet in tennis.