Leander Reaches Men's Doubles FinalSeptember 6, 2012 - World TeamTennis (WTT) Washington Kastles
And none has been friendlier to the Indian living legend than the US Open, where Paes reached the championship match on Thursday for the 10th time in his illustrious career (six in men's doubles, four in mixed doubles).
The fifth-seeded pair of Paes and Radek Stepanek has yet to drop a set during the event, advancing past No. 6 seeds Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez when the Spaniards retired at 6-6 in the first set due to a left calf injury to Lopez.
Now 23-3 all-time on hard courts, Paes and Stepanek will play for the title against No. 2 seeds Bob and Mike Bryan of the Kansas City Explorers in Friday's men's doubles final, airing live at 12 pm on CBS and USOpen.org.
It will be a rematch of January's Australian Open championship match, won by Paes and Stepanek 7-6(1), 6-2. That triumph allowed the former World No. 1 Paes to complete the career Grand Slam in men's doubles and prevented the Bryan brothers from setting an Open Era record with their 12th major championship as a team.
Bob and Mike are still seeking Grand Slam title No. 12, and will need to overcome one of their greatest rivals to clinch it.
Paes and the Bryans have met 36 times on the ATP World Tour and once in World TeamTennis, with the Americans holding a 26-11 advantage. But the two-time WTT Male MVP Paes will enter with the confidence that he and the Czech Stepanek backed up their hard-court win over the twins in Melbourne with another in Miami.
Paes has a history of success playing with partners from the Czech Republic at the US Open . Five of his six runs to the men's doubles final have come with Czech teammates, highlighted by titles in 2006 with Martin Damm and 2009 with Lukas Dlouhy.
At this year's US Open, Paes traded in his trusty Babolat racquet for a new Head frame. He hasn't skipped a beat, showing off the same touch volleys, ferocious passing shots and sky-hook overheads that Kastles fans have come to know and love.
Immediately after the men's doubles final on CBS and USOpen.org will be the women's singles semifinals, featuring 2010 Washington wild card Victoria Azarenka followed by Kastles' original Serena Williams .
The fourth-seeded Williams will meet French Open finalist Sara Errani for a spot in the final, which will be played live on CBS and USOpen.org Saturday at 8 pm.
Williams is 3-0 lifetime against the No. 10 seed Errani, and though they haven't met since February 2009, the Kastle will take comfort in knowing that sister Venus Williams routed Errani twice this summer.
Serena extended her scintillating five-month stretch to 41-2 on Wednesday with a 6-1, 6-3 quarterfinal victory over fellow former World No. 1 Ana Ivanovic. Though her streak of 23 straight games won ended in the first set, Williams has lost just 16 games in five matches at the US Open.
Last month at The Olympic Games, Williams conceded only 17 games in six matches en route to the gold medal.
Azarenka also picked up a gold medal in London (mixed doubles), and her US Open quarterfinal win over Samantha Stosur cemented her status as the No. 1-ranked player in the world regardless of who wins the title on Saturday.
To reach her first final in New York, Azarenka will need to defeat No. 3 seed Maria Sharapova, which she did 6-3, 6-0 to win her first Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open in January.
Be sure to visit the 'Keeping up with the Kastles' tracker on WashingtonKastles.com throughout the tournament for full US Open Kastles results and schedules, links to live scoring and streaming, and details on how you can catch the Kastles on TV.
World TeamTennis Stories from September 6, 2012
- Leander Reaches Men's Doubles Final - Washington Kastles
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