Paes-Stepanek storm into final; Nadal in semis

Paes-Stepanek storm into final; Nadal in semis

Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek stunned top seeded and hot favourite pair of Mike and Bob Bryan, who were chasing a rare Calendar Grand Slam, in a gripping contest to storm into the US Open men’s doubles final, here on Thursday.

The fourth seeded Indo-Czech pair denied the Bryans a piece of history with their 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win as the American twins were trying to become the first doubles team since 1951 to collect all four Grand Slam titles in the same year.
Ken McGregor and Frank Sedgman had achieved the rare feat of winning Calendar Slam in 1951.

The Bryans ran away with the first set but faced stiff challenge in the second, which Paes and Stepanek dominated to take the match to full length.

Paes stood out with his backhand slice and chips while Stepanek was solid with his blistering double-handed backhand.

Paes and Stepanek will have a chance to win their first Slam title of the season, having finished semifinalists at the Wimbledon.

Azarenka, Nadal through

Earlier, Victoria Azarenka struck a blow for the younger generation by beating Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia 6-2, 6-3 to join a trio of 31-year-olds in the semifinals.

The 24-year-old Belarusianwill play unseeded Italian Flavia Pennetta, while defending champion Serena Williams meets Li Na of China in Friday's semifinals.

Pennetta reached her first Grand Slam semifinal on Wednesday by beating longtime friend and Fed Cup team-mate Roberta Vinci 6-4, 6-1.

On the men's side, second seed Rafael Nadal continued his remarkable 2013 form, improving his hardcourt record to 20-0 with a 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 hammering of fellow Spaniard Tommy Robredo. Next up for Nadal is France's Richard Gasquet, who will be playing in the semifinal stage of a Slam for the first time since Wimbledon in 2007. Azarenka is one step closer to a possible Arthur Ashe Stadium rematch against Williams for the title.

Robredo had spoiled what would have been the first meeting at the US Open between Nadal and all-time Grand Slam king Roger Federer after the 31-year-old Spaniard sent the Swiss master packing in straight sets in the fourth round.

Nadal, who has come back from knee injuries that sidelined him for seven months to win nine tournaments including his eighth French Open for his 12th Grand Slam crown, bounded for joy after steamrolling another opponent at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Eighth-seeded Gasquet booked his long awaited return to the last four of a men's slam with a 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3 upset of fourth seed David Ferrer of Spain. It was the second successive five-setter for the 27-year-old Gasquet, who clinched the concluding set of a marathon fourth-round match against big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic 7-5. Gasquet had lost eight of nine previous matches against Ferrer.

The hill could be even steeper against Nadal, who has won all 10 of their professional encounters. Playing in just the second Grand Slam quarter-final of his career, 27-year-old Gasquet went all out against Ferrer, using his trademark one-handed backhand to near perfection as he closed him out in three hours and 23 minutes.
Gasquet broke the Spaniard on a double fault at break point for a 4-2 lead in the fifth set. He ended it with a bristling forehand for his 52nd winner. 

Results (quarterfinals, prefix denotes seeding): Men’s singles: 2-Rafael Nadal (Esp) bt 19-Tommy Robredo (Esp) 6-0, 6-2, 6-2; 8-Richard Gasquet (Fra) bt 4-David Ferrer (Esp) 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3. Doubles: 4-Leander Paes (Ind)/ Radek Stepanek (Cze) bt Bob Bryan/ Mike Bryan (US) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Women’s singles: 2-Victoria Azarenka (Blr) bt Daniela Hantuchova (Svk) 6-2, 6-3; Flavia Pennetta (Ita) bt 10-Roberta Vinci (Ita) 6-4, 6-1. Doubles: Serena Wiiliams/ Venus Williams (US) bt 1-Sara Errani/ Roberta Vinci (Ita) 6-3, 6-1.

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