New York, Sep 6: India’s Leander Paes and his Czech partner Radek Stepanek entered their second successive men’s doubles final at the US Open, avenging their last year’s defeat in the title clash by American twins Mike and Bob Bryan.
Paes, who is in line for his eighth men’s Grand Slam doubles title, and Stepanek won 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, thus denying the top seeds Bryans what would have been a calendar Slam, the first since 1951, and a fifth major in a row.
Paes and Stepanek, the fourth seeds, ended a 28-match winning streak of the Americans Thursday.
The last pair to accomplish a calendar Grand Slam was Australians Frank Sedgman and Ken McGregor.
Paes, who won the US open twice with two other Czechs Martin Damm in 2006 and with Lukas Dlouhy and Stepanek, will now take on the winners of Croatian Ivan Dodig and Brazilian Marcelo Melo vs Austrian Alexander Peya and Brazil’s Bruno Soares.
Paes, who has also won six mixed doubles Grand Slam titles, has yet again proved that at 40 he is still the most durable doubles player on the circuit.
He has played a key role in today’s win when his partner had problems holding his serve. His deft touch play and alacrity at the net baffled the Bryans, more so in the decider when they were serving to stay in the match down 1-5 after a double break by the Indo-Czech pair.
Stepanek, however, steadied himself in the 10th game and made sure there were no hiccups, though the Americans staged a smart rally by breaking Paes’s serve. The match lasted an hour and 51 minutes.
Paes, a losing doubles finalist here on four occasions, was all praise for the Bryan brothers, describing them as great ambassadors for American tennis.
“I have tremendous respect for the Bryan boys, they are great ambassadors for American tennis,” said Paes.
Mike and Bob had were 4-3 up head-to-head coming into the match and the way they started the match with splendid first set, winning 19 of the 20 points on first serve for a 95 percent record while Paes and Stepanek struggled to win 14 out of 23.
In a dramatic twist, Paes and Stepanek breezed through the second set and in the decider they reeled off five straight games to go 5-1 up.
Their inspiring play and a jig after winning every game rattled the the 15 Grand Slam winners.
“It came natural and we have fun on the court. Whatever comes comes, tomorrow it could be something different,” Stepanek said.