There is something about the bright lights and the razzmatazz of Flushing Meadows that brings out the 'A Game' in Leander Paes. For the second year running, the former New York-based Indian rekindled his love affair with the US Open by advancing to two doubles finals.
Paes punched away a volley to secure a 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 semifinal win with his partner Lukas Dlouhy to knock out top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan. “This crowd is just magic, I hope you show up again,” the 36-year-old Paes said.
He made it through to the men's final less than 24 hours after reaching the mixed doubles showpiece with Zimbabwean Cara Black.
Twelve months ago Paes suffered mixed fortunes in the finals when he and Black went on to pick up the trophy but he faltered with Dlouhy in the men's doubles showpiece. Paes will get his first chance to increase his tally of nine Grand Slam crowns on Thursday when he and Black take on American duo Carly Gullickson and Travis Parrott in the mixed finale.
In the men's showpiece, he will face his former partner Mahesh Bhupathi after he and Mark Knowles beat Max Mirnyi and Andy Ram in the other semi 6-4, 6-2. “I love this city, I lived here for three and a half years and I love playing here,” Mumbai-resident Paes said.
“The energy of New York is what turns me on. My results in the last four years, getting to a slam final every year is something that's really wonderful.
“Got a little bit of work still to do tomorrow and day after and that's where my focus is now, to use the energy of the city... when we get on court.”
On Wednesday, the Indo-Czech pair steamed to a 5-1 lead in the deciding tiebreak only to see the Bryan twins wipe away the advantage.