Dubai: The Indian pairing of Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Purav Raja were aiming for more after powering their way to a first-ever ATP 500 semi-finals following a stunning 7-6, 6-7, 10-8 win over the fancied Philipp Kohlschreiber and Fernando Verdasco late on Thursday.
“This is our first month playing together and there are a lot of things that we can still improve on. We have picked the right tournaments and obviously we have known each other for a while, and that’s the key — sticking together after knowing each other,” Nedunchezhiyan told Gulf News after the win. “This is only the first month and there are a lot of positive things yet to come in the future,” he smiled.
Grandson of former two-time interim Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Nedunchezhiyan was looking at some stability to the new partnership. This was their fourth win in Dubai after the duo had come through the qualifying rounds on Sunday and Monday.
“This an ATP-500 tournament and we have put ourselves in this position. We couldn’t have asked for a bigger opportunity. The idea would be to just go out there and enjoy this moment that we have together as a new pair,” Nedunchezhiyan said.
“I would hope we are a good tennis team and I would love to see us coming out strong tomorrow. We are riding the momentum and all we have to do is to stick with each other and play to our strengths.”
Nedunchezhiyan’s best was his first ATP World Tour level title at the 2017 Aircel Chennai Open alongside Rohan Bopanna while defeating countrymen Purav Raja and Divij Sharan in the all-Indian final.
At 33, and older of the two, Purav Raja was more pragmatic. “We don’t play like that. This is as big as a Dubai semi-final. This is big merely because Jeevan and I have got off to a great start and it’s a great thing for the team,” he said.
“We hope to achieve more for ourselves in tennis, and that’s how big it is for us.”
The Indians will take on Ben McLachlan and Jan-Lennard Struff in Friday’s semi-finals.