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Top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan lifted their fifth Australian Open Men's Doubles title in the last six years, by powering past the veteran Indian Express, Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, in straights sets 6-3, 6-4 in Saturday's final. The win was also the Bryan's 10th Grand Slam title overall, leaving them just one behind the legendary Australian team of Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge.
Leander and Mahesh were unusually short of energy today, and failed to bring their 'A' game to the final. While not exactly lethargic in their approach, the usual skip in their step which you associate with the Indian Express was conspicuous by its absence, and surprisingly so, considering how much this match meant to the recently re-united duo. The Indians were chasing the only piece of silverware missing from their impressive trophy cabinets, and with their sell-by date rapidly approaching, one would have expected them to play with a bit more fire in their belly.
Interestingly though they did come out all guns blazing, racing to 0-40 in Bob Bryan's opening service game, but failed to take their chance as the left-hander served his way out of trouble. Mahesh Bhupathi, usually so very reliable on the ad court, had a rather poor match, and failed to make any returns in that opening game.
Games went on serve till the 6th game, when Leander was broken as the Bryans took a 4-2 lead. The point of the match was played at 15-15, when the Americans beat the Indians at their own game, showing better hands at the net. An excellent forehand from Mike Bryan set up a couple of break points, and the Bryan twins needed just one as Bob hit a powerful off-forehand winner straight up the middle from the deuce court. Some easy holds followed, and the powerhouse Bob Bryan served out the opening set 6-3 in just 29 minutes.
The second set was all the Bryans too, and with their first serves landing more often than not and clocking in excess of 200kmh, the Indians were powerless to make a dent in their opponent's service games. In fact, Bhupathi and Paes were made to work exceptionally hard just to hang on to their own serves. Bhupathi's first service game was taken to deuce and Leander was then in trouble on his serve, being let off the hook by Bob Bryan who missed an easy return on a 0-30 point.
The Indians kept themselves close by holding on to those service games, though Mahesh was in trouble again in the 5th game when Bob hit an excellent return at the on-rushing Bhupathi's feet, forcing him to half-volley up, giving Mike the easy put away. Bhupathi dodged a bullet as a net cord sat up invitingly for Bob Bryan at the net, but he failed to put the ball away, allowing the Indians to continue to keep their hopes alive in the contest.
The vital break did eventually come though as the Bryans launched themselves on Bhupathi in the 9th game. Serving at 4-4, two unforced errors -one an error in judgement from Mahesh, letting a volley go, and a missed volley from Leander gifted the Bryans 3 break points. Leander saves the first with some good hands at the net, but a net cord which saw the ball skip over Mahesh's racquet gave the Bryans the break and set up Bob to serve for the match.
The Indians decided not to go down without a fight, and came out swinging one last time at the change of ends. A backhand winner up the line from Mahesh, playing his best game of the match, set up break point. But Bob produced a 215kmh ace straight up the middle to save it. A good hook smash from Mike earned the Bryans championship point, and forehand that went miles long from Mahesh started the celebrations in the Bryans' camp.
While the Indians undoubtedly were not at their best, credit needs to be given to the Bryan twins for an exceptionally professional display and they were by far the better team of two tonight. While their serve was undoubtedly a distinguishable weapon, they mixed it up with some intelligent play from the back of the court, and a nearly error-free performance at the net.
Mahesh hinted in his post match speech that he and Leander look forward to playing together the rest of the year, giving fans in India plenty of reason to cheer despite the loss, with their heroes previously indicating that they would reassess their partnership at the end of the tournament.
Mike and Bob were typically gracious in their speech, sharing that they needed to play at their best to defeat the Indians and were delighted to see them playing together once again as a pair, and looked forward to plenty of close matches over the course of the year.
 Bob Bryan / Mike Bryan (USA) def.  Leander Paes / Mahesh Bhupathi (IND) 6-3 6-4
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