Chennai, Jan 8: Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi needed all their combined experience to defeat the Croatian combo of Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig 6-1, 6-7 (4), 10-4 en route to the final of the doubles event in the ATP Aircel Chennai Open tennis tournament here Saturday.
The legendary Indian pair thus are in line for their fifth Chennai Open doubles crown, the last of which was in 2002, the year they broke up.
After racing away with the first set on service breaks in the third and fifth games, the Indian duo, back on the tour as a team after a seven-year break, met spirited resistance from the Croatians.
The Croatians were broken in the third game, but broke back in the next and thereafter, the games went to serve leading to the tie-break.
The Croatians took an early lead in the tie-break that they won as the match spilled into the Super Set in which the Indians raised their game to clinch the issue when Cilic served a double-fault.
Both Paes and Bhupathi showed flashes of their old brilliance that they hope would help them win the Australian Open, the only Grand Slam trophy missing in their showcase.
If the Indians’ performance thus far is any guide, it would be sooner than later that the pair begin to play at a level that had once made them World No.1 tandem. –(IANS)