Paris, June 8 (IANS) Indian star Rohan Bopanna and his Canadian partner Gabriela Dabrowski on Thursday won a tough three-set battle to clinch the mixed doubles title at the French Open tennis tournament here.
The seventh-seeded Indo-Canadian combination overcame the unseeded pair of Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany and Robert Farah of Colombia 2-6, 6-2, 12-10 in 56 minutes.
Bopanna is the fourth Indian to win a Grand Slam title after Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza.
Bopanna is also the fourth Indian to become mixed doubles champion at the French Open. Bhupathi was the first — he won the title with Rika Hiraki of Japan in 1997.
Bhupathi achieved the feat for a second time in 2012 with Sania Mirza before Paes partnered Swiss star Martina Hingis to win the title last year.
Indians have now won a total of 20 mixed doubles titles at Grand Slam tournaments.
Dabrowski also created history on Thursday as she became the first Canadian to win a Grand Slam title.
Bopanna featured in the final of a Grand Slam tournament after a gap of seven years.
He qualified for the Grand Slam final of his career in 2010 when he and Pakistan’s Aisam-ul-haq Qureshi entered the title clash of the US open.
The Indo-Pakistan combination had registered several superb performances in that tournament, including a straight sets win over second seeds Daniel Nestor and Zimonjic in the third round.
However, the 16th seeds ran into the legendary Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan in the final.
Bopanna and Qureshi put up a brave fight before going down 6-7, 6-7 to the top-seeded Bryan brothers who were also World No.1 at that time.
“We didn’t start off a great today, but we kept pushing and working hard together, and we finally got through.
“We relaxed a little more in the second set, and we started playing our game. We were trying to do too much as a team. Because it was a final, we were trying to go for too much maybe on the returns or even on the serve,” Bopanna was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.
For the Canadian Dabrowski, lifting the first Grand Slam trophy in career was undoubtedly a dream from childhood that came true.
“Very special. It’s something that you always dream about as a kid. It’s kind of funny because you never know where the journey is going to take you, singles, doubles, now mixed doubles,” she said.
“I couldn’t be happier.”