5 Sep :India’s Leander Paes completed a career mixed doubles Grand Slam on Thursday, joining Zimbabwe’s Cara Black to beat Britain’s Jamie Murray and American Liezel Huber 7-6 (8/6), 6-4 in the US Open final.
The 97-minute victory for the first-time Slam pairing follows mixed titles for Paes at the 1999 French Open and Wimbledon with American Lisa Raymond and the 2003 Wimbledon and Australian Opens with US star Martina Navratilova.
"The key part is selecting a good partner," Paes said. "I let Cara do all the work and I just stood back and enjoyed it."
Paes, who lacks the Australian Open title for a men’s doubles career Slam, lost two prior US Open mixed finals, including last year with American Meghann Shaughnessy 6-4, 7-6 (8/6) to Max Mirnyi and Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.
In 2001, Paes and US partner Lisa Raymond fell 6-4, 5-7, 11-9 (champions tiebreak) in the final to Australians Todd Woodbridge and Rennae Stubbs.Both Black, 29, and Paes, 35, have a chance for more titles this week at Flushing Meadows.
Paes and Czech Lukas Dlouhy have advanced to Friday’s US Open men’s doubles final, where they will face US brothers Mike and Bob Bryan.Black and Huber, a South African who became a US citizen last year, are top-seeded partners in women’s doubles, where they have advanced to the semi-finals.
Huber and Black hope for a chance to play 2005 US Open winners Raymond and Samantha Stosur of Australia in Sunday’s final."To come out here and play against your partner is pretty tough," Black said. "All thanks to Leander. He pulled me through."
Murray, the elder brother of US Open singles semi-finalist Andy Murray, won last year’s Wimbledon mixed doubles crown with Serbian star Jelena Jankovic but lost to a team with Paes for the second US Open in a row, bowing in the 2007 semis.
"I was looking for a bit of revenge but it didn’t happen," Murray said.Murray and Huber led 5-2 in the tie-breaker but Paes and Black won six of the last seven points to take the set, denying two set points on a Black scoop volley winner and when Murray netted a forehand volley.
Black fired a service winner to give her and Paes a set point and the Indian star poached a backhand volley smash to win the set.Paes fought off a break point with an ace in the second game of the second set and later broke Murray in the fifth game of the set, then he and Black held to the finish, which came on a serve and volley winner by Paes to claim the 150,000-dollar top prize.