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Bhupathi-Knowles in final; Paes-Dlouhy lose in semis

Last updated on: January 29, 2009 17:11 IST

Mahesh Bhupathi earned a shot at his first Australian Open title after reaching the men's doubles final with Mark Knowles, but Leander Paes's wait continues after losing his semi-final alongside partner Lukas Dlouhy.

Bhupathi and his Bahamian partner Knowles, seeded third, thrashed Lukasz Kubot and Oliver Marach 6-3, 6-1 to make the final of a Grand Slam event together for the first time since forging the partnership in 2008.

In the other semi-final, the fourth seeded Paes-Dlouhy pair lost 3-6, 3-6 to American second seeds Mike and Bob Bryan.

Bhupathi now has a chance to end his drought of men's doubles titles at a Grand Slam event. The last time he laid hands on a winner's trophy was in 2002 at the US Open.

The title will also complete Bhupathi's Grand Slam kitty, as only the Australian Open men's doubles title has eluded both Bhupathi and Paes.

They won the French Open and Wimbledon together but annexed the US Open with different partners.

Paes and his Czech partner's fight against the formidable Bryan brothers was over in just 54 minutes, ending Indian hopes of seeing two of its best doubles players fighting for the title.

Paes has not won a men's doubles title at a Grand Slam since winning the US Open in 2006 with Martin Damm.

Earlier in the day, the third seed Indo-Bahamian pair proved too good for their unseeded Polish-Austrian opponents as it took them just 58 minutes to win the semi-final encounter.

The winners improved upon their last year's performance at the Open, where they lost in the semi-finals.

This is also for the second time that Bhupathi has reached the final of the Australian Open. The last time he made the final of the men's doubles at the Open was in 1999 with estranged partner Paes.

Bhupathi now has a chance to grab his fifth men's doubles Grand Slam title and 11th overall.

The last time he won a men's doubles title at a Grand Slam event was way back in 2002 at the US Open with Max Mirnyi.

Bhupathi-Knowles broke their opponents once in the first set to take a 1-0 lead and then outplayed them in the second.

They broke thrice, in the first, fifth and seventh games, in the second set to race away with the match.

Knowles hit a stunning forehand winner to earn a match-point which got converted when Marach's attempted winner flew over the baseline.

In the juniors' event, Yuki Bhambri continued his sizzling run as he made the semi-finals of both the singles and doubles as top seed.

In singles, world No 2 Yuki quelled a late challenge from Germany's Becker 6-1, 7-5 while in the doubles he and Chinese Taipei's Liang-Chi Huang edged past French fifth seeded pair of Adrien Puget and Julien Obry 7-6 (4), 6-4 in the quarter-finals.

The teen sensation had reached the semi-finals last year as well.

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