The win helps the Indian complete a career Grand Slam; it is the Czech's first Major title
Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek denied the Bryan brothers a record 12th Grand Slam title as they beat the American top seeds in straight sets in the Australian Open final on Saturday.
The 7-6(1), 6-2 victory was the first for India's Paes over American twins Bob and Mike Bryan in a final after five defeats in title clashes, and helped him complete a career Grand Slam of doubles crowns.
Coming into the Australian Open, the Indian doubles specialist had won 47 career titles with 11 different partners, including one with Stepanek, who claimed his first Grand Slam doubles crown.
“I know what this means for him (Paes) because this title was missing from his career Grand Slam. I'm happy I was by his side,” Stepanek said.
The two danced around the court gleefully after their win, which came on a day when Bob and his wife were expecting their first baby.
“She's probably going to deliver tomorrow (Sunday) so thanks baby, thanks for holding it in for me,” he said.
Single break point
Serve dominated the first set with just a single break point for each pair and no breaks of serve, but the unseeded Paes and Stepanek stepped up their game in the tie-break to take it 7-1.
The fired-up Indo-Czech duo broke the Bryans' serve in the second game of the second set and looked like running away with the match.
The Americans, with 76 titles together, stopped the rot by holding in the fourth game, but could not reverse the momentum and were broken again to slip to a comprehensive defeat.
Paes and Stepanek, playing in just their fourth Tour-level event together, had lost to the Bryan brothers in straight sets in both their previous meetings.
The result meant that the Bryans remained on 11 titles, sharing the record for the highest number of crowns in the open era with Australia's Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde.
Paes had words of gratitude for his Czech partner for playing a crucial role in the win. The title was Paes' 13th Slam overall and first with Stepanek, who is five years younger than the Indian at 33.
Paes said he told Stepanek that it was special to beat the No. 1 pair.
“I have to thank my partner Radek [Stepanek] for putting me on his shoulders and carrying me through the week. I have played five finals against the Bryan brothers and lost, and you know how it feels,” said Paes.
Paes acknowledged the Bryans' talent and prowess. “I have the highest regard for you guys (Bob and Mike).
“You are great ambassadors of the game for the manner in which you conduct yourselves,” he said
Paes also remembered all those who contributed in his illustrious career. “To my daughter Aiyana, wife Rhea, Martina [Navratilova] for being such an inspiration, and all the support staff,” he said.
Stepanek, who won his first Slam title, was emotional after the victory.
“It's tough to add to what Leander has said. This was one title that was missing for you and I am happy that I was by your side when you won it,” he said.
Mike Bryan congratulated Paes for completing a career Slam. “Congratulations to Leander and Radek. We have loved coming here and playing for the past 15 years. The crowd is fantastic.”
Men’s doubles: Leander Paes & Radek Stepanek bt 1-Bob Bryan & Mike Bryan 7-6(1), 6-2.
Women: 3-Victoria Azarenka bt 4-Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-0.
Boys: 1-Luke Saville bt Filip Peliwo 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.
Girls: 14-Taylor Townsend bt 4-Yulia Putintseva 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.
Men's final Djokovic v Nadal
Mixed doubles final Vesnina & Paes v Mattek-Sands & Tecau.
Keywords: Australian Open