Paes-Dlouhy cruise to finals, eye successive French Open titles

Paris: Leander Paes and his Czech partner Lukas Dlouhy are just one step away from winning back-to-back French Open men`s doubles title after they stormed into the final with a straight set victory over Julian Knowle and Andy Ram here on Thursday.

The third seeded Indo-Czech duo defeated their 10th
seeded opponents Knowle of Austria and Ram of Israel 6-4, 6-2
in a lop-sided semifinal match which lasted 75 minutes at
Roland Garros.

If Paes and Dlouhy win the summit match against second
seeded duo of Daniel Nestor of Canada and Nenad Zimonjic of
Serbia, it would be the fourth French Open men`s doubles title
for the Indian.

Paes has already won the title in 1999 and 2001 (both
with Mahesh Bhupathi) and then with Dlouhy in 2009.

With already six men`s doubles and five mixed doubles
Grand Slam crowns in his pocket, Paes, if he wins the final
this time, will become the Indian with most Grand Slam
triumphs with 12 titles -- one more than his estranged partner

Paes and Cara Black, who won the Australian Open mixed
doubles Grand Slam title early this year, however, are already
out of the French Open after losing their match in the
quarterfinals here.

Paes and Dlouhy made a rollicking start breaking their
opponents` serve in the first game and then held their own to
surge 2-0 ahead.

The defending champions then broke Knowle-Ram in the
seventh game to go 5-2 up and wrapped up the first set 6-4 in
37 minutes.

A set up, Paes and Dlouhy, however, did not show any
complacency and won five points in a row by breaking their
opponents in the first, third and fifth games to go 5-0 up in
the second set.

Knowle and Ram made a last-ditch fightback and narrowed
the gap to 5-2 but it was too little and too late as Paes and
Dlouhy won the second set 6-2 in 38 minutes to pocket the
match comfortably.

In another semifinal, Nestor and Zimonjic beat Wesley
Moodie of South Africa and Dick Norman of Belgium 6-0, 6-3.


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