The US Open men’s doubles final will see estranged Indian partners Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhutpahi facing each other. It is the first time the two players, who won three slams together, will be up against each other in a Grand Slam.
Bhupathi and Mark Knowles of the Bahamas, seeded third, won 6-4, 6-2 against the fifth seeded pair of Belarussian Max Mirnyi and Israeli Andy Ram in the semifinal.
In the other semifinal earlier, the fourth-seeded pair of Paes and Lukas Dlouhy of the Czech Republic overcame a stiff challenge from top-seeded American twins Bob and Mike Bryan 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (8-6) and avenged their defeat in the title-round here last year.
Paes and Dlouhy held their nerves in the tense decider to pull off a thrilling match in an hour and 51 minutes. The deciding set lasted 55 minutes with Paes and Dlouhy wasting a match point in the 10th game off left-hander Bob’s serve.
Dlouhy struggled with his serve initially in the third set. He was down 0-40 in the first game, but managed to hold after saving three break points in the game that stretched to 16 points.
Bob and Mike served strong and won three straight service games at love to level 3-3. Paes’ service was under attack in the seventh game and he had to ward off four break points to hold after being down 0-40.
The Indo-Czech pair had a match point at 5-4 on Bob’s serve, but could not convert and the set went to the tiebreaker.
Paes and Dlouhy raced to a 5-0 lead in the tiebreaker, before Bob and Mike fought back. The Americans saved four match points at 6-2 to draw level. Finally Paes and Dlouhy wrapped it up in their sixth match point with Paes showing great reflexes at the net and putting away a volley.
For Bhupathi and Knowles it wasn’t a tough task and the duo took 76 minutes to wrap up the match in straight sets.
Paes, who won the title here in 2006 partnering Martin Damm, entered the US Open title round for the fifth time. He has also advanced in the mixed doubles final here with Zimbabwean Cara Black.