Thu, September 04, 2008

India's Paes breezes into US Open doubles final

2008-09-04 05:57:27 GMT2008-09-04 13:57:27 (Beijing Time)

Lukas Dlouhy (L) of the Czech Republic and Leander Paes of India play at the net against Ashley Fisher of Australia and Rik De Voest of South Africa during the US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 31 in New York.

NEW YORK - India's Leander Paes moved closer to claiming two Grand Slam doubles titles at one event for only the second time in his career, booking a berth Wednesday in the US Open men's doubles final.

"I think 2008 in New York is going to be special," Paes said after joining Czech Lukas Dlouhy to beat Argentina's Maximo Gonzales and Juan Monaco 6-2, 6-0 in just 46 minutes.

Paes and Zimbabwe's Cara Black had already booked a berth in Thursday's mixed doubles final. Now Paes has a chance at age 35 to duplicate a feat he managed only once before, taking 1999 Wimbledon men's and mixed doubles titles.

"When you finish a semi-final of a Grand Slam in 46 minutes, you're always happy," Paes said. "It was one of the fastest matches I had in my career. The balls looked like watermellons out there.

"It was exactly what the doctor ordered. They made me play twice (Tuesday) and I was scheduled early. Now I can go back and relax."

Rivaling his Wimbledon feat from nine years ago is a testament to the Asian star's fitness regimen and determination.

"I was much younger back then," he said. "As you get older, I push my body to new limits and try to raise the bar a few more times."

Paes and Dlouhy started working together at Roland Garros this past May.

"He wanted to play with me for a while but never asked me," Paes revealed. "It's going very well right now. Lukas is crazy just as I am. He's also a hard working boy. That's why it's working out so well."

For Paes, the career highlight will always be his 1996 bronze medallist at the Atlanta Olympics.

"Nothing will ever rate my Olympic medal," he said. "Let me remind you it was in singles. That's the epitome of my career."


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