Paes storms into mixed doubles final, men’s doubles semis

September 3rd, 2008 - 3:36 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, Sep 3 (IANS) India’s Leander Paes defied age as he continued his dazzling form in the US Open tennis, reaching the mixed doubles final and men’s doubles semifinal.Seventh seed Paes, partnering Czech Lukas Dlouhy swept past the strong challenge of Sweden’s Robert Lindstedt and Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-3 in over two hours in the doubles quarterfinal Tuesday. The Indo-Czech pair will face Argentines Maximo Gonzalez and Juan Monaco for a place in the final.

The 35-year-old Paes showed no signs of fatigue as he appeared in the Grandstand Court after a few hours with his mixed doubles partner Cara Black of Zimbabwe and eased into the final, defeating Sweden’s Jonas Bjorkman and Russia’s Nadia Petrova 6-4, 6-4.

Paes and Black will face Britain’s Jamie Murray and American Liezel Huber in the final. The Indian will be eyeing his fourth mixed doubles Grand Slam title.

The US Open has been a happy hunting ground for Paes and his last Grand Slam title came here in 2006 with Czech Martin Damm. Besides, Paes has twice been runner-up here (1999, 2004) while three times he reached the semifinal (1993, 1997, 1998).

“I have always enjoyed playing in US Open. I have a fair bit of success here and that keeps me motivated. I am playing with passion,” Paes said.

Paes has won 39 doubles titles and all four Grand Slam trophies in men’s doubles in his 17 year long career.

“I started at a young age. But I have continued for so long because I love the game. Tennis has given me everything in life and I will continue playing as long as I have the passion to play,” he said.

In the quarterfinal, Lindstedt and Nieminen wasted as many as three break points while Paes and Dlouhy broke them once to win the first set.

The second set was fought hard with both teams losing their serve twice to take it to a tie-breaker where Paes and Dlouhy ran out of steam.

The duo picked themselves up in the decider and cashed in on the mistakes of Lindestdt and Nieminen, who squandered as many as four break points. Paes and Dlouhy converted one to reach the semifinals.

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