Bhupathi-Knowles reach Australian Open doubles final

January 29th, 2009 - 2:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Jan 29 (IANS) India’s Mahesh Bhupathi and Mark Knowles of Bahamas made it to their first Grand Slam final together with a dominating 6-3, 6-1 victory over Polish Lukasz Kubot and Austrian Oliver Marach here Thursday. Third seeded Knowles and Bhupathi cruised through the semi-final in 58 minutes without facing much resistance by the unseeded Polish-Austrian pair.

They 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 will face the winner between No. 2 seeds and two-time champions Bob and Mike Bryan and No. 4 seeds Lukas Dlouhy and Leander Paes.

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, 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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