Divij Sharan and Purav Raja won their maiden ATP Tour doubles title as they beat the second-seeded Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France and Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands 7-6(4), 7-6(3) in the final of the $727,685 Claro Open in Bogota, Colombia, on Saturday.
“It feels great. We never played an ATP Tour event together. Everything has happened very quickly. It has not sunk in yet”, said the 27-year-old Purav, when contacted by The Hindu in Colombia. Having played the semifinals of the ATP event in Newport last week with Ivo Karlovic of Croatia, Divij Sharan was actually getting ready for the big breakthrough.
“We rarely get to play the ATP Tour events. The first time was when I got a wild card with Vishnu Vardhan for the Chennai Open in 2011. It is terrific to win the title with Purav. We have been playing good through the season. We didn’t get the opportunities. We tried to capitalise on the chances”, said an elated Divij, ranked 85 in the world.
The final itself was topsy turvy, as the opponents failed to serve out the first set at 5-3, and the Indian lads themselves could not serve out the match in the second, leading to two tie-breaks.
“The final was great. It could have gone either way”, remarked Purav. Vasselin had played the Wimbledon semifinals with Bopanna, and has won four ATP doubles titles. We are happy to have played some good matches against quality players, like Nicholas Monroe who had won the Newport title. It gives us the confidence to keep trying our best to get into the US Open”, said Divij.
“Sijsling had made the Australian Open final this year with Robin Haase”, pointed out Purav, in emphasising the quality of opponents.
“We have been working hard from the start of the season. The results are showing now. We were unlucky to lose a few close finals”, said Divij. The duo had won the Kyoto Challenger and lost the finals in Johannesburg, Leon and Nottingham this season.
Divij, who was ranked No. 5 in junior doubles, has won four Challenger doubles titles and 19 Futures titles. Purav who did not play the junior circuit, has four Challenger and 14 Futures titles.
Interestingly, the duo has won only Challenger and one Futures title as a pair!
Did the first round loss in Wimbledon hurt the duo so much, when they failed to capitalise on a two sets lead, that they grabbed their Tour title so quickly, along with 250 ATP points and $36,000.
“We play a sport. Cannot control things, all the time”, said Purav, with understandable maturity, that has helped the duo play the game in a relaxed fashion without worrying about the reputation of the opponents or the results.
Winning the semifinals against the local lads, the top-seeded Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah was a great experience for the Indian duo, particularly with the Hawk’s eye in operation.
They will next play the Lexington Challenger, as the entry cut-offs for the upcoming ATP Tour events are very high. The title has given the confidence for Divij Sharan and Purav Raja that they do belong to the big league, and are ready to work their way through, even if it means slugging it out in the Challenger events for some more time.