John Isner and Jack Sock‘s bid to complete the first successful men’s doubles titles defense at the BNP Paribas Open since the Bryan Brothers in 2014 fell short on Friday night as the American duo fell to Rohan Bopanna and Matt Ebden, 7-6(6), 7-6(2).
Bopanna, a former US Open men’s doubles runner-up (2010) and French Open mixed doubles champion (2017) reaches his 55th career ATP doubles final and will play for his fifth Masters 1000 title and first since 2017.
The 43-year-old veteran has been an inspiration on tour for years.
“I just love competing,” he said. “That keeps me going… I have a young partner here who is athletic and who covers most of the court, I just have to manage a quarter of the court, and I’m okay with that.”
The 35-year-old Ebden, the 2022 Wimbledon champion (with Max Purcell) is into his first Masters 1000 final.
“I think we just respected them,” Ebden said. “We knew what to expect. They are an incredibly dangerous pair and won this title last year. We want to be one of those top pairs – maybe the top pair – so we have to test ourselves and try to win matches like that.”
The Bopanna/ Ebden pairing has reached three finals in 2023 – they were runner-ups at Rotterdam and champions at Qatar.
Into the title match 💯@wesleykoolhof and @nealskupski take down
Gonzalez/Roger-Vasselin to 6-3, 4-6, 10-5.#TennisParadise pic.twitter.com/AZb6M4NPYi
— BNP Paribas Open (@BNPPARIBASOPEN) March 18, 2023
Bopanna and Ebden will take on the Dutch/ British pairing of Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski in Saturday’s final.
Top-seeded Koolhof and Skupski eased past Jamie Murray and Michael Venus on Stadium 2 earlier on Friday evening, 6-3, 6-3, to reach their first BNP Paribas Open final. The current World No.1s reached the quarterfinals last year before falling to Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury.
They continue their momentum from a brilliant 2022, which saw them win seven titles as a team, including three Masters 1000 crowns. The pair are into their first final of 2023.