US Open: Paes and Stepanek storm to doubles title

LEANDER Paes and Radek Stepanek completed a convincing victory over Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares in the men’s doubles final at the US Open yesterday.

The veteran pairing of Paes, from India, and Czech Stepanek, dominated the match to record a 6-1 6-3 victory over their rivals in just 72 minutes on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court at Flushing meadows.

For Paes, 40, it is his third US Open doubles crown and the eighth grand slam title of his career. It was Stepanek’s second major doubles title after winning the 2012 Australian Open with Paes.

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Peya and Soares, from Austria and Brazil respectively, had only two break points for the match and failed to convert either in their first doubles final of a grand slam championship.

Stepanek, 34, said he is now targeting the ATP World Tour Finals this year because it is the biggest trophy missing from Paes’ collection.

“There is one thing we would like to achieve and that’s winning the world championships at the end of the year, because that’s the trophy which is missing in Leander’s showcase,” Stepanek said.

“That’s what I’m very focused on. That’s what I would like to deliver to his showcase. Today with this win, we qualified for the Masters [Tour Finals].

“That’s the first step. I’m very happy that the [US Open] trophy is now in front of us and we are both enjoying it.”

Paes rated the victory above the 2012 Australian Open title that completed his career grand slam.

“This one is actually really, really special,” he said. “For me, this one is probably even more special than the Australian Open win. In Australia I was going for a career slam, and that was something that Radek worked so hard to do. We achieved it, he did it for me.”

Paes was also quick to acknowledge Stepanek’s resilience after he came back well from back surgery earlier this year.

“Find someone from the Czech Republic, that’s my advice to anyone who is looking for a doubles partner. They are hard-working guys,” Paes said.

“I have to thank him. He had a lot of adversities this season, coming out of injury and surgery it’s amazing to stand here. I have to thank him.”

On Saturday, Czech duo Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka won the women’s doubles title with a 7-6(4) 6-1 6-4 win over Australia’s Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua.

Hlavackova and Hradecka, who upset Serena and Venus Williams in the semi-finals, overcame a strong start from the Australians to claim their second grand slam doubles title following their 2011 French Open triumph.

It was also a second title for Hlavackova at this year’s US Open after she teamed with Belarusian veteran Max Mirnyi to win the mixed doubles on Friday.

“It’s been amazing,” Hlavackova said. “I can’t believe I have won two grand slams this week. I want to thank Lucie, she helped me as much as Max did.”

It was third time unlucky for Barty and Dellacqua, who also lost the women’s doubles final at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon this year.

“It’s been amazing playing with Casey and I’ve been very lucky to have her on my team,” said Barty.

“Hopefully one day we’ll have one of these [grand slam] trophies. We’ll just knuckle down.”