Leander Paes advanced to the semifinals after a hard-fought win along with doubles partner Marcus Daniell to become the oldest player to reach an ATP Tour semifinal in the last 13 years. Meanwhile, Sumit Nagal recorded another victory and is only one match away from the Hamburg Open main draw.
The third-seeded pair of Marcus Daniell and Leander Paes triumphed the Australian-Swede pair of Matthew Ebden and Robert Lindstedt to book their spot in yet another semifinal as doubles partners. In doing so, Leander Paes also became the oldest player to reach an ATP Tour semi-final since John McEnroe accomplished the feat as a 47-year-old in San Jose in 2006.
The Indian veteran is now 46 years old and in his 28th year as a professional tennis player. He had first played in the competition way back in 1995 and is the only player still playing the game from the singles and doubles draw of that year. With 18 Grand Slams to his name, Paes has shown incredible fight for his age and even in the quarterfinal had to defend three match points to reach the penultimate stage of the tournament along with his Kiwi partner.
“These are the nights that I live for. The hard work, playing when you have fever, being in the gym when you don’t really want to be there. Most people see us travelling to lovely places and being on show courts, but the hard yards are what allow me to still compete at this level,” Paes was quoted as saying to the ATP website by Scroll.in.
“The experience is still there, the legs are still there, the knowledge and strokes are there. It’s about finding the right doubles partners and I’ll have success. Being a student of life and the game, I used to try to learn from the older players. Now, I try to learn from the younger ones,” he added.
Paes now has the sixth-highest wins for a doubles player and has already reached four semifinals this year in the ATP Tour. The pair will be facing off against M. Granollers and S. Stakhovsky in the semifinal.
“I have to work three times as hard now as I did 10 or 15 years ago. That’s just age, but I love the work.,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, 21-year-old Sumit Nagal’s 7-5, 6-2 win over 138th ranked Sebastian Ofner means he is one win away from qualifying for the main draw of an ATP 500 event for the first time.
“I served well on the crucial points. I fought well and was very solid when the rallies were going more than 4-5 shots. I was very motivated and pumped up to go on court. I am looking forward to tomorrow’s match,” Nagal was reported telling PTI.
Having started the year outside the top 350, three Indian is now ranked 205 in the world and will face world number 128 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the final qualifying round.
“To be honest, I am enjoying being on tennis courts and fighting, that’s all. When you are happy and looking forward to step on the court every day, things go well,” he said of his rise.