French Open: Paes loses in doubles final

Saturday, June 5, 2010

PARIS - Defending champions Leander Paes of India and Lukas Dlouhy of the Czech Republic were outclassed 5-7, 2-6 by Daniel Nestor of Canada and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia, who claimed their first French Open men’s doubles title here Saturday.

It took second seeds Nestor and Zimonjic 65 minutes to cruise to their first victory outside London. They had won the Wimbledon doubles twice in 2008 and 2009.

Had third-seeded Paes and Dlouhy succeeded in defending their title, it would have been the Indian’s 12th Grand Slam title and fourth doubles title here. The 36-year-old Paes had won here in 1999 and 2001 with compatriot Mahesh Bhupathi and with Dlouhy last year. He has six men’s doubles titles and five mixed doubles titles in a Grand Slam so far.

After a tight first set where Paes dropped his serve at 6-5, Nenad and Zimonjic streamrolled through the second. They broke Dlouhy’s serve twice to cruise to a 4-1 lead before Nestor served out the set and the match.

Paes said it was the strong serving by his opponents that took the game away from them.

“They served really well. They were just too good. It has been great two weeks for us. The kind of preparation we had for the tournament, if someone had told me we would reach the final, I would have been pretty happy. I want to thank Lukas the way he stuck by me and I hope to come back again with him next year,” Paes said.

The Indo-Czech pair’s match record going into Roland Garros was a modest 3-4 on the European red clay while Nestor-Zimonjic’s was 11-2. The Canadian-Serbian pair had beaten Paes and Dlouhy in the semifinals of the Madrid Matster in May, a tune-up event for the French Open.

Lukas hoped they would win back the title next year. “It is great to be in the final two years in a row, hope we can come back and win against next year.”

Nestor and Zimonjic now lead the head-to-head 6-1 against Paes and Dlouhy, their only loss coming in the French Open semi-finals - 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5) - a year ago. Paes and Dlouhy went on to win the title, and did likewise at the U.S. Open.

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