Chennai: Leander Paes had said that it would be his goal to help Janko Tipsarevic win a doubles title. On Sunday at the SDAT Stadium he did exactly that as the Indo-Serbian pair defeated Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram of Israel 6-4, 6-4 in the Chennai Open doubles final.
"It's a disappointment for me to lose the singles, but as soon as I caught up Paes, my disappointment was replaced by determination to win the doubles," said Tipsarevic.
This was the first doubles title for Tipsarevic, while for the Indian this is his sixth Chennai Open title. All his previous wins had come in the company of Mahesh Bhupathi. Leander praised his partner for being a thorough professional. "This guy played for three hours in singles and still came out all guns blazing for the doubles. He is an inspiration for all budding athletes."
The Indo-Serb combination broke Erlich and Ram in their first two service games of the match to storm to a 3-0 lead, but Paes lost his serve in the fourth game to make it 3-1. Thereafter the duo made amends to clinch the set 6-4.
Paes and Tipsarevic started the second set in fine fashion, breaking Erlich's serve to take an early grip in the set and the match. After Paes bisected Erlich and Ram with a forehand volley, which gave the third seeds two break points, Tipsarevic converted the very first break point when his backhand return wrong-footed the Israelis, who both ended up on the same side of the court.
But the Israelis hit back as Paes lost his serve and advantage in the very next game.
At 4-4, Paes lobbed Erlich with a perfect backhand and urged on the crowd to go on. He repeated the procedure in the very next point, but this time he had to finish off the off-balance return of Erlich, which he did emphatically. After a couple of unforced errors from the Israelis, Leander, all pumped up and sensing victory, sent a serve which Erlich could only manage to hit wide.
It was three match points for the Indo-Serb combine. Leander served and rushed into the net to perfectly angle it past Andy and into the empty corner of the court. The Indian threw his racquet away and hoisted Tipsarevic on his shoulders, carrying him for a few metres in celebration.