Bhupathi-Knowles in doubles final, Paes-Dlouhy bow out

January 29th, 2009 - 5:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Jan 29 (IANS) India’s Mahesh Bhupathi and his Bahamian partner Mark Knowles reached their first Grand Slam final together, while Leander Paes’s run was halted in the Australian Open semi-final here Thursday.The third-seeded Bhupathi and Knowles were clinical in their 6-3, 6-1 dismissal of Polish Lukasz Kubot and Austrian Oliver Marachm in 58 minutes.

In the final, the Indo-Bahamian pair will play American No.2 seeds and two-time champions Bob and Mike Bryan, who in a repeat of the 2007 US Open final stopped Paes and his Czech partner Lukas Dlouhy from winning their first Grand Slam together.

The No.3 seeds lost 3-6, 3-6 to the American twins in 54 minutes. Paes’s campaign in the mixed doubles had already come to end in the second round.

In the boys singles, top seed Yuki Bhambri overcame a late fightback from German Richard Becker 6-1, 7-5 to move into the semi-final in an hour and 12 minutes.

Yuki, who reached the semi-final in the last edition here, will play seventh seed Adrien Puget of France who beat Mikhal Biryukov of Russia 6-4, 6-2.

Bhupathi and Knowles raced to a 3-0 lead in the opening set, and then capitalised on three of their four break points in the second set to close the match. Kubot and Marach did not gain any break point.

Bhupathi and Knowles, two former World No. 1 doubles players, have had a successful 2008 since teaming up during the ATP World Tour tennis season. They captured three titles in seven finals, made their Grand Slam debut together last year at the Australian Open and reached the semi-finals, losing to eventual champions Israel’s Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram.

Bhupathi will be contesting his second Australian Open final, having finished as runner-up in 1999 with Paes, with whom he won three of his four Grand Slam doubles title. The Bangalorean’s last Grand Slam doubles title came in the 2002 US Open with Max Mirnyi of Belarus.

If Bhupathi clinches the Australian Open men’s doubles title, he will win all four Grand Slams. He has a 4-3 record in Grand Slam finals, winning in 1999 and 2001 at Roland Garros, in 1999 at Wimbledon and in 2002 at the US Open.

Knowles won the Australian Open title in 2002 with long-time partner Daniel Nestor, with whom he also reached the final in 1995 and 2003. In addition to his win in Australia, he won the title in 2004 at the US Open and at Roland Garros in 2007.

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