Indo-Pak Express Break Up

December 1, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

Pakistan’s Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi and India’s Rohan Bopanna announced this week that they have dissolved their successful men’s tennis doubles partnership, which was hailed as a symbol of friendship between the rival nations. Bopanna told the Indian Express newspaper that he will team up with veteran compatriot Mahesh Bhupathi in 2012, while Qureshi will next partner Dutchman Jean-Julien Roger at the Australian Open in January.

“As the season has ended now, I can confirm that I am playing with Mahesh in 2012,” Bopanna said, declining to elaborate on the reason for parting ways with Qureshi after four years. “Who I want to play with is my decision… I did have a successful year with Aisam but now I am starting a new year with Mahesh, and it’s as simple as that.”

Bopanna and Qureshi, who joined hands in an unlikely partnership in 2007, shot to fame when they reached the US Open doubles final last year and are currently ranked ninth in the world. The duo actively promoted better India-Pakistan ties and even offered to play tennis over the land border dividing the two countries, which have a history of warfare and political tension.
Bopanna’s announcement also confirmed media speculation that India’s best-known men’s doubles combination of Bhupathi and Leander Paes, who won three Grand Slam titles, would not play together on the circuit.

Bopanna was non-committal on whether the decision to change partners was due to the London 2012 Olympics. “As of now Mahesh and I have decided to start the year together,” he said. “The Olympics have a lot of other technicalities like form and rankings, and we will see how it goes.”

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Qureshi and Bopanna in World Tour Finals

November 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

2010_10_19-2010_10_19_6_30_29-jpg-34833The Indo-Pak Express of tennis, consisting of Pakistan’s Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi and India’s Rohan Bopanna, have qualified for the season-ending Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) World Tour Finals to be held November 20 to 27 at London’s O2 arena. The tournament will feature the top eight men’s doubles teams in the world, and this will be Qureshi and Bopanna’s first appearance in this prestigious tourney after serving as alternates last year.

Bopanna and Qureshi have been rewarded for their consistent play this year. They won two ATP Tour Titles — at the Gerry Weber Open and the Stockholm Open — and made the quarterfinals and semifinals of more than five ATP 1000 Masters events. The US Open semifinalists, ranked seventh in the world, became the seventh team to join the elite list which will battle it out at the Tour Finals.

“This has been a great year for us, and we are very excited to be playing against the best of the world. All our hard work has paid off and we are glad we met the goal we had set for ourselves earlier this year,” Bopanna told The Times of India. “This would not have been possible without the help and guidance of Shayamal Vallabhjee, Robert Davies and the rest of our team.”

Qureshi added, “We had a great 2011 and we thank all our fans for their constant love and support that has helped us reach these heights. We are looking forward to playing against the best in London. Doing well there would be a great way for us to finish an amazing season.”

The duo are currently playing in the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris, where they have a bye in the first round.

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Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi Falls in French Quarters

June 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

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Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan of USA shake hands with Rohan Bopanna of India and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan following their victory during the men’s doubles quarterfinals match June 1.

Pakistan’s Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and his Indian doubles tennis partner Rohan Bopanna were almost able to slay the dragon that has been tormenting them. That dragon has taken the shape of American tennis playing brothers Bob and Mike Bryan, who previously defeated Qureshi and Bopanna in the finals of the U.S. Open Men’s Doubles tournament this past September. In the 2011 French Open semifinals. the Indo-Pak Express were able to take the first set against the Bryans in a tiebreaker, 7-2. But Bob and Mike roared back and took the second set 6-3. That left a crucial third and final set that once again went to a tiebreaker. However, it was the Bryans who prevailed in this second tiebreaker, 7-3, to qualify for the semifinals. The Bryans, however, went on to lose in the semifinals to the unseeded team of Eduardo Schwank of Argentina and Juan Sebastian Cabal of Colombia.

Qureshi has moved up to a career high of number seven in the world mens’ doubles rankings. But that will be small consolation for him right now as the two of them continue to try to break through with their first Grand Slam doubles title. At least they have gotten back on the saddle after their disappointing end in Paris. The duo have already reached the final of the Gerry Weber Open in Germany just days after their loss.

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Aisam ul Haq Qureshi Falls in Epic French Open Quarterfinal

June 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi-96269Pakistan’s Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and his Indian doubles tennis partner Rohan Bopanna put on quite a show in Paris, but they ultimately fell to their American arch rivals, the Bryan brothers. Qureshi and Bopanna took a stirring first set 7-6, 7-2 in the tiebreaker. But the Bryan brothers rebounded with a 6-3 second set victory. And everything then came down to a third set that once again ended in a tiebreaker, but this time in the Bryans’ favor, 7-3.

In the previous round, Qureshi and Bopanna, the number five seeded men’s team, dispatched of the team consisting of Kazakhstani Andrey Golubev and Uzbek Denis Istomin 6-3, 7-5 in the fourth round to reach the quarters. And in the quarterfinal round the Indo-Pak Express will face their nemeses, the American team of brothers Mike and Bob Bryan. The Bryans, in the fourth round, ironically also took out a Kazakhstani, as well as a Russian.

Back in September the Bryan brothers defeated Qureshi and Bopanna in the finals of the U.S. Open, after which Qureshi gave a stirring speech about the plight and misunderstanding of his home nation of Pakistan. This time Qureshi, and Bopanna, were hoping to do all of the talking with their rackets to avenge their previous defeat. But, the defeat notwithstanding, Qureshi and Bopanna certainly got the attention of all onlookers at Roland Garros Stadium in Paris.

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Qureshi and Bopanna Star in Monte Carlo

April 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

2011-04-17T125153Z_1458469648_GM1E74H1M0Z01_RTRMADP_3_TENNIS-MEN-MONTECARLO

Prince Albert II of Monaco next to his fiancee Charlene Wittstock as they attend the final of the Monte Carlo Masters tennis tournament in Monaco April 16, 2011.                    

REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Pakistani tennis player Aisam Qureshi and his doubles partner Rohan Bopanna continue to be a wrecking ball on the ATP tour. The IndoPak Express, as they are called, are now ranked sixth in the world as a men’s doubles team, a rise of two spots from their pre-tournament ranking of eight.

Most recently, they made it to the semifinals of the Monte Carlo Masters, and along the way they ousted tournament second-seeds and multiple grand-slam winners Daniel Nestor and Max Mirny in the quarter-finals. They were, however, handed a surprise loss by the unseeded Juan Ignacio Chela and Bruno Soares in the semi-finals.

Qureshi is now ranked 11th, one up from his previous position of 12 in the individual doubles players rankings. Qureshi’s Indian partner Bopanna also improved his individual doubles ranking from 15 to 14. This week the two are in Spain participating in the Barcelona Open.

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Qureshi Moving Up the Tennis Rankings

April 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

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By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

Pakistani ace men’s tennis player Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi has made significant strides in the world of tennis the past couple of years. He and his doubles partner, India’s Rohan Bopanna, have been steadily moving up the world men’s tennis rankings. Now, Qureshi has achieved the highest world ranking of his career thus far. He has moved up to a career high doubles ranking of number 12 in the world. In addition, he and Bopanna as a team have moved comfortably into the top 10 of the team rankings, having risen to number eight.

Most recently Qureshi and Bopanna were semifinalists at the ATP event at Indian Wells in California. There they beat the well-decorated Indian team of Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes, before being upset in the semifinal round.  They followed that up with a quarterfinal finish at the ATP Masters event in Miami, Florida. At this pace, a top five ranking should be right around the corner. And who knows, the number one spot just may be there for the taking.

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