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Excellence in doubles revolves around the highest degree of coordination and anticipation. On Day 13 of the 2012 Australian Open, Leander Paes added the missing Australian Open title to his otherwise glittering career portfolio as he alongwith Czech partner Radek Stepanek surprised the defending champions and the holder of 11 Grand Slam titles, Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, 7-6 6-2 in the final on Rod Laver Arena in a display of copy-book doubles.
The first set was an evenly contested affair. The Bryans' plan to target the presumable weak link, Radek Stepanek, didn't seem to pay any dividends as the highly animated Czech was producing some remarkable service returns and delectable volleys. With an 83 percent first serve percentage and an impressive winners' count of 22, the unseeded Indo-Czech pairing took the set 7-1 in the tie-break after neither team was able to really challenge the other on serve.
The brilliance continued to flow from the racquets of Paes and Stepanek in the second set as they broke the normally impregnable Bob Bryan serve in the second game. The Bryans seemed to be a bit off colour and for a change their opposition outdid them on the celebration front as Stepanek and Paes were constantly innovating with their point-winning gigs.
The reflexes of Paes combined with Stepanekâ€™s proactive play from the baseline made sure that the No.1 seeds werenâ€™t given any comeback opportunities and after holding their nerve in a tight seventh game, Paes and Stepanek pocketed the set 6-2 to win the match and the championship.
This is Stepanek's first ever Grand Slam title, and considering that Stepanek and Paes have not partnered for 8 years, an incredible achievement from a scratch pair. The Bryans meanwhile will need to wait for another slam atleast before they challenge they can displace the Woodies as the 'win-ingest' pair of all time. Both teams stay locked at 11 Grand Slams each.
The Australian Open doesn't end here for Leander Paes with the veteran Indian returning to action tomorrow in the Mixed Doubles Final where he partners Russia's Elena Vesnina. The duo will take on the no.8 seeds American Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Romania's Horia Tecau. The Indo-Russian pair will be massive favourites going into that match.
Doubles - Final
L Paes (IND) / R Stepanek (CZE) d  B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) 76(1) 62
- 29/01/2012 22:45 - Australian Open 2012: Closing Notes
- 29/01/2012 20:03 - Australian Open Final 2012: Djokovic triumphs over Nadal in a true clash of the titans
- 29/01/2012 12:26 - Paes - Vesnina fall just short in Australian Open Mixed Doubles Final