Championship Recap from Announcer Andy Taylor, Voice of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open
ATP Cup creates unique opportunity for Bopanna and Koolhof
Despite decades on Tour, before this week Rohan Bopanna had never played in Doha. An Indian legend, week-1 always found the decorated champion in Chennai, or more recently Pune.
When the ATP released 2020’s schedule, rather than compete with the ATP Cup, tournament organizers in India opted to move their tournament to the week following the Australian Open. The Qatar Tennis Federation, on the other hand, chose to keep Doha as a week-1 event.
Finally, a chance for Rohan to play in Qatar – if only he could find a partner. The ATP Cup’s schedule proved timely again.
During the off-season, Nikola Mektic and Wesley Koolhof agreed to join forces for the upcoming season. However, when Nikola was selected to play for Team Croatia in the ATP Cup, Wesley found himself without a week-1 partner – until he heard from Rohan.
So, a partnership of circumstance was born, and the timing couldn’t have been better.
Rohan Bopanna and Wesley Koolhof capture the Doha Title
They took out Italians Marco Cecchinato and Lorenzo Songego in Round-1, then quickly dispatched fan favorites Frances Tiafoe and Stan Wawrinka in the Quarterfinals.
Thanks to Thursday’s rain, the pair had to win both their Semifinal and Championship match on Friday.
In the Semi’s, Rohan and Wesley survived a tough first set against this year’s 2-seeds Franko Skugor and Henri Kontinen – then cruised through set-2, reaching the Doha Final without dropping a set. Meanwhile, their Championship opponents – Luke Bambridge and Santiago Gonzalez, also paired for the first time this week – got through Tim Pütz and Fredrik Nielsen in a match tiebreak.
Sadly, due the scheduling challenges presented by Thursday’s storms, the teams played the championship match on Court-1, where Rohan and Wesley dropped their first set of the tournament. Unrattled, they won set-2 comfortably, and captured the title in a match tiebreak. Score: 63 26 6-10.
Afterwards, shortly before the Singles semifinals – Rohan, Wesley, Luke and Santiago joined us on Center Court for an abbreviated trophy ceremony, where Rohan lifted his 19th career ATP Doubles trophy. It was Wesley’s 5th title on Tour.
 Rohan Bopanna -42- (IND) and Wesley Koolhof -18- (NED)
This pair has joined forces for the first time here in Doha, reaching a championship match in their first event together on Tour with a win over Franko Skugor and Henri Kontinen earlier today.
Ranked as high as World #3 – he reached his first Grand Slam Final at the 2010 US Open, is a 2-time Finalist at the year-end ATP Finals, and won his first Major title in Mixed Doubles at the 2017 French Open. With 18 career Singles titles in all – tonight, he is competing in his 46th Tour level Final. From India – Rohan Bopanna.
His partner won his 4th ATP Tour Doubles title during week-1 of the season last year in Brisbane – and tonight, is competing in his 18th ATP Tour Final. Last year, he reached his first Major Quarterfinal at Wimbledon and his first 3 Masters-1000 Finals. From the Netherlands – this is Wesley Koolhof.
▲ FF — def Luke Bambridge (GBR) / Santiago Gonzalez (MEX) | Score: 36 62 10-6
▲ SF —  Franko Skugor (CRO) / Henri Kontinen (FIN) | Score: 75 62
▲ QF — def Francis Tiafoe (USA) / Stan Wawrinka (SUI) | Score: 63 64
▲ R1 — def Marco Cecchinato (ITA) / Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) | Score: 63 62
Luke Bambridge -51- (GBR) and Santiago Gonzalez -49- (MEX)
Teaming up for the first time this week in Doha – earlier today, this tandem defeated Tim Pütz and Fredrik Nielsen to reach today’s championship match.
Now a 6-time Tour level Finalist, he owns 2 ATP Tour Doubles titles, 7 Challenger titles, and has been ranked as high as World #41. Contesting a week-1 title for the 2nd-straight season (Pune-2019) – From Great Britain, Luke Bambridge.
His partner is a Grand Slam Finalist. In 2017, he reached the championship match at Roland Garros with partner Donald Young. Overall, he owns 13 ATP Doubles titles and has been ranked as high as World #23. A Semifinalist here in Doha last year, tonight he’s competing in his 25th career Tour-level Doubles Final. From Mexico, Santiago Gonzalez.
▼ FF — lost  Rohan Bopanna -42- (IND) / Wesley Koolhof -18- (NED) | Score: 63 26 6-10
▲ SF — def Tim Pütz (GER) / Fredrik Nielsen (DEN) | Score: 26 62 10-4
▲ QF — def  Jeremy Chardy (FRA) / Fabrice Martin (FRA) | Score: 63 76(7)
▲ R1 — def Ricardas Berankis (LTU) / Milos Raonic (CAN) | Score: 57 76(5) 10-5