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Lee-Hesh taste the thunder, win title

sports Updated: Aug 23, 2011 00:34 IST
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India's Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes have won their second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title of the season, defeating Frenchman Michael Llodra and Serb Nenad Zimonjic 7-6(4), 7-6(2) in a thriller at the Western & Southern Tennis Open here.

The third-seeded Indian pair, winners of the Masters 1000 in Miami, executed their plan far more efficiently than the flamboyant fourth-seeded Lodra and Zimonjic, back-to-back title winners at Washington and Montreal, on the Grandstand Court at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason Sunday.

Paes and Bhupathi, who reunited on the Tour this year after a nine-year separation, had knocked out top seeds and 11-time Grand Slam winners Bob and Mike Bryan 1-6, 7-6(2), 10-7 in the semifinals.

'Feel right'
The Indians, the winners here in 2001, have a 25-8 win-loss record this year, having started the season winning the Chennai Open and losing the Australian Open final and then the Queen's.

The victory must be sweeter for Bhupathi who last year lost the final with Belarusian Max Mirnyi to the Bryan brothers.

"We just felt like this is the right time," said Bhupathi, who played tennis at the University of Mississippi. "Our big goal is the Olympics next year. So playing together now really helps."

Bhupathi and Paes, runners-up at the year's first Grand Slam tournament Australian Open, won the hard-fought match in one hour and 41 minutes in front of wildly-cheering expats waving their national flag.

Superior game
The Indians served craftily without committing a double-fault and their 14 unforced errors were far less compared with 31 by the opponents who also had two double-faults. Paes and Bhupathi also returned well and had a better percentage of winning points on their second serve. The Indians' calculated offensive made sure that the 11 aces fired by their rivals - nine of these coming in the first set - did not hurt them.

The No.3 seeds in the women's doubles, American Vania King and her Kazakhstan partner Yaroslava Shvedova, outlasted unseeded Natalie Grandin from South Africa and Vladmira Uhlirova of the Czech republic to take their first title of the season together 6-4, 3-6, 11-9 in the super tiebreak.

King and Shvedova needed a shade less than two hours to beat the Czech-South African pair, which had upset World No 1 combination Czech Kveta Peschke and Slovenian Katarina Srebotnik in the semis.