Aslan Karatsev and Andrey Rublev are on a roll in the desert, through to their maiden ATP Masters 1000 doubles semi-final after taking down Rohan Bopanna and Denis Shapovalov in straight sets on Thursday night.
The Russians, in only their third tournament together, proved too strong for the Indian-Canadian duo 6-4, 6-4. Champions already this year in Doha, they are now 7-1 as a partnership and will face the unseeded Tim Puetz and Michael Venus for a place in their second tour-level final this season.
Both pairs had been rock solid on serve to 4-all in the opening set before the first cracks appeared as Shapovalov was broken on a third break point. Karatsev duly capitalised and served it out at the 30-minute mark as the Russians finished the first set with a perfect 18/18 on first-serve points.
Consolidation proved a struggle in the second set as the pairs traded five breaks in seven games before Karatsev raised his level to hold for 5-3. While they missed four match points on Shapovalov’s serve, the Russians advanced a game later at the 67-minute mark.
In their first event together since 2016, eighth seeds Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo narrowly advanced against unseeded Italians Fabio Fognini and Lorenzo Sonego 3-6, 6-4, 10-8. The Croatian-Brazilian duo won Roland Garros together in 2015 and Melo relished the chance to reunite in Indian Wells.
“Today was as high level as possible in doubles. I think the people enjoyed a lot, even though I got hit twice,” Melo said. “For me it was special because Ivan and I used to play together a long time and now we started to play again. I’m just very happy to play the level I was playing today.”
They won 78 per cent of first-serve points and 67 on second serves to book a semi-final clash against seventh seeds John Peers and Filip Polasek. It is their first semi-final together since they won in Cincinnati in 2016.