Bhupathi wins Dubai doubles title for third time

March 8th, 2008 - 10:42 pm ICT by admin  

(Second Lead)

Dubai, March 8 (IANS) Mahesh Bhupathi of India won a share of the Dubai doubles title for the third time as he partnered Mark Knowles of Bahamas to beat Czech pair Paul Vizner and Martin 7-5, 7-6 (9-7) in an hour and 48 minutes. The fourth seeded pair, who beat second seeds Simon Aspelin of Sweden and Julian Knowles of Austria 6-2, 6-0 in the semi-finals, relied on their strong serve and kept the pressure up. After taking the first set at 7-5, they squandered two match points in the second set tiebreaker before closing the match on the third.

On Saturday, there was little to choose between the two pairs. It all boiled to the lone break in the first set, which Bhupathi and Knowles converted. In the second set the match went with serves till they reached the tiebreaker.

In the long tiebreaker, Bhupathi’s booming serve clinched the issue at 9-7.

It was the second successive title for Bhupathi and his partner, who last week won in Mempis. It was the Indian doubles specialist’s 43rd ATP title.

Bhupathi triumphed here in 1998 and 2004. The first time he partnered Leander Paes and six years later he won with Frenchman Fabrice Santoro. Knowles won the Dubai title with Mark Knowles in 2002. Last year Bhupathi lost in the final.

Both Bhupathi and Knowles have held the No. 1 spot in world doubles, but with different partners - Bhupathi with fellow Indian Leander Paes in 1999 and Knowles with Canadian Daniel Nestor.

At the start of the 2008 season, Bhupathi and Knowles had 88 doubles titles between them, and now they have two more in two weeks. Bhupathi and Knowles have been playing together since the 2007 US Open.

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