India’s Rohan Bopanna and Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski saved two match points to claim their first Grand Slam title on Thursday (8) with victory in the French Open mixed doubles final.
The seventh seeds defeated Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany and Colombia’s Robert Farah 2-6, 6-2, 12-10 in the final.
But they did it the hard way, coming back from a set and break down as well as trailing 9-7 in the super tiebreak where they faced two match points.
It was a first Slam title for both the 37-year-old Bopanna and his 25-year-old partner from Ontario.
“It’s truly special. You know, you always, as an athlete, when you start playing tennis, you want to win a Grand Slam,” said Bopanna.
Bopanna is only the fourth Indian player to win a major title after Sania Mirza, Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi.
Bangalore-based Bopanna said victory was particularly special as it came 20 years after Bhupathi had teamed with Japan’s Rika Hiraki to win the mixed crown in Paris.
“It’s really, really special, especially for India. I think mixed doubles was the first slam 20 years ago, you know, when Mahesh won it.
“I’m really happy to be part of those athletes who have won slams after that. For me, it was always a personal goal to win a slam.”
The pair only teamed up at the US Open last year and made the quarter-finals at the Australian Open.
“At the US Open, I put my name on the looking list, and Rohan texted me. I think it was the morning of sign-in,” recalled Dabrowski.
“Luckily for where my ranking was at the time, and him being 17, of course I said yes immediately.”
Mirza was amongst the first to congratulate Bopanna and Dabrowski.
“Bopannnaaaaaaaaa … long time coming !!well done you two #grandslamchampion,” tweeted Mirza, a mixed doubles champion in Paris in 2012.