Bhupathi and Knowles fail to stop Bryan twins in final (Lead)

January 31st, 2009 - 8:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Jan 31 (IANS) India’s Mahesh Bhupathi failed to add to his four men’s Grand Slam doubles title when he and Mark Knowles fizzled out after a great start to lose the Australian Open final to American twins Bob and Mike Bryan here Saturday.The second seeded Bryan twins crawled back from a set-down to overpower Bhupathi and Knowles 2-6, 7-5, 6-0 in an hour and 38 minutes at the Melbourne Park here.

Bryans thus maintained their sizzling Australian Open record, claiming their third title here and seventh overall. Such has been their dominance at the venue, that they have made it to five finals here in the last six years.

Bhupathi was aiming for a career Grand Slam here, having won in 1999 and 2001 at Roland Garros with Leander Paes, in 1999 at Wimbledon (Paes) and in 2002 at the US Open (Max Mirnyi of Belarus). It was his second Australian Open final, having finished as runner-up in 1999 with Paes.

Bhupathi was very much on course when he and Knowles, the third seeds, got off the blocks in a flash breaking Bob in the first game, and again in the fifth. The Indo-Bahamian pair were through with the first set in a jiffy.

Bhupathi, who is still in contention for the mixed doubles title with Sania Mirza, shared the bulk of the workload as he his showed class at the net to go with his strong service and power-packed returns.

The Bryans fought back in the second set, putting pressure on Bhupathi and Knowles’ serve. The closely fought second set saw all the four players match stroke for stroke. Just when the set was perched on a knife’s edge, the Bryan brothers put in that extra bit while Mahesh and Knowels slackened.

Still, Bhupathi and Knowels had their chances when they had three break points against Mike and then Bob, but could not make it count. The Bryans, on the other hand, put tremendous pressure on their opponents’ serve and eventually Knowles cracked in the 12th game.

Set all, the Bryans looked a different team in the third set as they went for the kill in a clinical way. Bhupathi and Knowles were clearly out of their breath and were broken thrice to surrender the set and the match rather tamely.

Bhupathi and Knowles, the two former World No 1 doubles players, have had a successful 2008.

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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