New Delhi: Rohan Bopanna and Matthew Ebden etched their names in the tennis record books by winning the Australian Open men’s doubles title on Saturday, defeating Simone Bolelli and Andrea Vavassori in a thrilling final.
The second-seeded duo of Bopanna and Ebden prevailed 7-6 (0), 7-5 over the unseeded Italians in a match that lasted one hour and 39 minutes at the Rod Laver Arena.
It was a historic achievement for both players, who claimed their first Grand Slam title as a team and their second overall in their respective careers.
Bopanna, who turned 43 last month, became the oldest man to win a Grand Slam title in the Open era, breaking the record of Jean-Julien Rojer, who was 40 when he won the French Open in 2022 with Marcelo Arevalo.
The Indian veteran also set a new mark for the most Grand Slam appearances before winning a men’s doubles title, having played 60 majors without lifting the trophy.
Bopanna, who had previously won the 2017 French Open mixed doubles with Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski, will also become the oldest number one in men’s doubles history when the new rankings are released next week.
Ebden, meanwhile, added the Australian Open crown to his Wimbledon title in 2022, when he partnered with fellow Australian Max Purcell.
The 34-year-old, who also won the 2013 Australian Open mixed doubles with Jarmila Gajdosova, became the third Australian in a row to win the men’s doubles title at his home slam, following Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis in 2022, and Rinky Hijikata and Jason Kubler in 2023.
The final was a closely fought affair, with both teams holding their serves throughout the first set. Bopanna and Ebden had two break points in the second and fourth games, but Bolelli and Vavassori saved them with some solid net play.
The set went to a tie-break, where Bopanna and Ebden raised their game and dominated their opponents, winning seven points in a row to take the lead.
The second set was equally tight, with neither team able to create a break point until the 11th game when Bopanna and Ebden seized their opportunity and broke Vavassori’s serve with some aggressive returns.
Ebden then served out the match, and Bopanna sealed the victory with a smash, sparking jubilant celebrations from the Indo-Australian pair.