A day after assuring the world no.1 rankings, Indian veteran tennis player Rohan Bopanna, partnering Australian Matthew Ebden, sailed into the Australian Open men's doubles final after a win over Czech-Chinese pair of Tomas Machac and Zhizhen Zhang.
The second-seed Indo-Aussie pair defeated Zhizhen and Machac 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (10-7) at the Rod Laver Arena on Thursday.
In his 17th Australian Open appearance, the 43-year-old Indian has advanced to the men's doubles finals at Melbourne Park for the first time. He had never previously progressed beyond the third round in a men's doubles draw at the tournament.
Notably, Bopanna and Ebden reached their second consecutive Grand Slam final as a pair.
Bopanna and Ebden on Wednesday scored a 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) quarterfinal victory against sixth-seeded Argentines Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni on Wednesday.
The triumph guarantees that Bopanna will rise to the top of the ATP Tour doubles rankings after the tournament, making him the oldest first-time world No.1 in history.
He will become the fourth Indian tennis player to reach world No. 1 in doubles after Olympic bronze medallist Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza.
Last year the Indian ace became the oldest man to qualify for a grand slam final in the Open era, when he and Ebden reached the US Open final. Bopanna additionally boasts the distinction of being the oldest player to clinch a men's doubles title at a Masters event. This achievement was accomplished last year at the age of 43 when he, along with Ebden, emerged victorious at Indian Wells,
(With inputs from IANS)