Paes-Ebden scrape through to title round

Leander Paes and Matthew Ebden kept their run going with a scrappy 6-4, 3-6, [10-7] win over Jonathan Erlich and Andrei Vasilevski in the doubles semifinals of the $1,62,000 Bengaluru Open ATP Tennis Challenger here on Friday.

Paes and Ebden were not at their best, but managed to keep cool in the match tiebreaker to sneak through. It was Ebden who kicked into top gear first in the tiebreaker, making a reflex volley to get the pair level at 2-2. Paes then made a brilliant chipped backhand service-return winner to get a 6-5 lead. A couple of awkward kick serves from Paes closed the show in grand style.

In the singles quarterfinals, Italian Julian Ocleppo edged out 13th seed Ilya Ivashka of Belarus 7-6(4), 6-7(3), 6-4 in a gruelling outing which lasted 2 hours and 40 minutes. Ocleppo was down 2-5 in the first set, before making a terrific comeback to wrap it up 7-6(4). Neither player gave an inch, and it went down to the wire. Ocleppo, the World No. 231, will take on gritty Australian James Duckworth in the semifinal on Saturday.

Fourth-seed Duckworth, in great form in recent months, knocked out ninth-seed Thomas Fabbiano (Ita) 6-7(5), 6-0, 6-2 in another last-eight match.

Unseeded Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi upset third-seed Yuichi Sugita of Japan 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-4, while Stefano Travaglia took out fluent Slovenian southpaw Blaz Rola 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.

The results: Singles (quarterfinals): Julian Ocleppo (Ita) bt Ilya Ivashka (Blr) 7-6(4), 6-7(3), 6-4; James Duckworth (Aus) bt Thomas Fabbiano (Ita) 6-7(5), 6-0, 6-2; Stefano Travaglia (Ita) bt Blaz Rola (Slo) 6-4, 4-6, 6-2; Benjamin Bonzi (Fra) bt Yuichi Sugita (Jpn) 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-4.

Doubles (semifinals): Matthew Ebden (Aus) / Leander Paes (Ind) bt Jonathan Erlich (Isr) / Andrei Vasilevski (Blr) 6-4, 3-6, 10-7.

Line-up: Singles semifinals (2 p.m. onwards): Ocleppo vs Duckworth; Bonzi vs Travaglia.

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