Indian Express returns in style

Indian Express returns in style

Paes-Bhupathi keep their cool to put it past Haase-Martin in final

Leander Paes (left) and Mahesh Bhupathi share a light moment after winning the doubles title on Sunday. PTI

The Indian Express, during their one hour and 45-minute workout in the middle, gave the capacity crowd myriad moments of anxiety before leaving them ecstatic with a 6-2, 6-7 (3-7), 10-7 win over the Dutch-US pair of Robin Haase and David Martin here at the Nungambakkam stadium. Paes-Bhupathi were richer by $22,000 and 250 points while their rivals had to be content with $11,600 and 150 points.   

“Feels great,” said Bhupathi, looking more relieved than happy. “Three tight matches in three days... It was a quality doubles play in the final. Those guys really came after us in the second set and tie-breakers,” he added.

It was a sort of a lull in the first set before the storm as Haase-Martin unleashed in the subsequent phases of the game. Paes-Bhupathi once again were off to a swift start breaking Haase in the second game when a Martin return fell long. The Indian duo held the next to build a 3-0 cushion. Haase-Martin had a chance to return the favour in the fifth game when Bhupathi trailed 15-40, but the Bangalorean came up with three big serves to keep the lead intact. Haase then, at deuce, netted his volley to hand Indians the set.

Like in their previous matches, Paes-Bhupathi failed to maintain the tight leash after a stroll in the opening set. Though the former world ones were able to draw level after a break of serve in the third game, they weren’t so lucky in the tie-break. Bhupathi began by losing his serve but quickly made up for it with two breaks off Martin. Paes then blew the advantage losing both his serves and it wasn’t long before Haase-Martin had the set.
“The quality of the game picked up from the second set,” pointed out Paes. “Especially in the tie-break, they came up with big serves, big shots and even started winning points on our serves. They figured out our strategy and we had to change it in the Super tie-break,” he explained.

In a pulsating Super tie-break, where fortunes fluctuated wildly, the experience of the veterans came in handy. They were lagging 1-4 at one stage, but made it 3-4 with Paes holding both his serves. After several twists and turns, Paes-Bhupathi took an 8-5 lead and appeared to finish off the proceedings before another twist arrived. Paes’ serves gave in once again and the hosts had their lead pruned to 8-7. Haase, however, failed to keep his cool as the crowd got into the act. The Dutch cracked under pressure and lost both his serves to hand Paes-Bhupathi a great beginning to their new coming.
     
Result: 1-Leander Paes/Mahesh Bhupathi (Ind) bt Robin Haase (Ned)/ David Martin (US) 6-2, 6-7 (3-7), 10-7.

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