China Open | Rohan Bopanna to face Rafael Nadal in China Open

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China Open | Rohan Bopanna to face Rafael Nadal in China Open

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SportsCafe Desk

10/03/2016

Rohan Bopanna has been handed a dream draw against 14-time Slam winner Rafael Nadal in the first round of the men's doubles event at the China Open. Other Indians in the event include Leander Paes and Sania Mirza who will be playing with their respective partners in the men's and women's events.

Bopanna, who was a part of the Indian contingent that faced the Spaniards in the Davis Cup tie a fortnight ago, will go up against Nadal and his young team-mate Pablo Carreno Busta. The Bopannna-Nestor pairing are seeded third in the men’s draw, and should they get past the Spanish duo, they will have to play top seeds and three-time champions Bob and Mike Bryan in the semi-finals.

Sania Mirza, who won the title last year in the women's doubles event with Martina Hingis, returns to defend her title with a new partner in Barbora Strycova. The Indo-Czech pair, who lost the Wuhan final on Saturday pair, will be looking to bounce right back and are seeded fourth in the tournament. They do, however, face a difficult draw with French Open champions Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic, Olympic gold medallists Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova and the Wuhan Open winners Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova among the main contenders.

Mirza and Strycova start their campaign off against Gabriela Dabrowski and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, a team they have played three times in as many weeks. In the quarter-finals, Mirza could also run into former team-mate Martina Hingis who has teamed up with American Coco Vandeweghe for this year’s event. Hingis last played Mirza at Cincinnati where the latter earned the bragging rights with a win in straight sets.

The semi-finals could be a replay of the Wuhan Cup final against Matteck-Sands and Safarova, where the Indian ace would want to avenge the humiliating loss. The final could be a possible replay of the US Open quarter-final where they will go up against the Indo-Czech pair.

Leander Paes along with his German teammate Andre Begemann are wildcard entries into the tournament and will start against the team of Bernard Tomic and Jack Sock. The Indo-German pair has already reached two finals on the ATP Tour this year since teaming up in July.

However, they came up just short on both attempts missing match points when they had the chance. They now have a great chance to redeem themselves at one of the biggest ATP events of the year. They could end up facing fourth seeds Treat Huey and Max Mirnyi in the quarter-finals before being thrown into the deep end when they face second seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo in the last-four stage.

The Bopanna match will commence at 2 PM IST today.  

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