What’s the story?
Unseeded pair of Leander Paes and Yen-Hsun Lu produced a big win as they upset the top seeds Mike and Bob Bryan, 7-6(4), 2-6, 10-7 to enter the semi-finals of the Delray Beach Open in Florida on Friday. The match lasted 1 hour and 32 minutes.
Considering the fact that the legendary Bryans had reached the final of the Australian Open just last month, this was indeed a commendable effort from the Indo-Taipei duo.
In case you didn’t know...
This is the first ATP semi-final of the 2017 season for India’s evergreen tennis icon and the first time this year that Paes won two matches back-to-back at any event. In the five events that he had participated in prior to this tournament this season, he had been able to register only a solitary win – at the ASB Classic – against five losses.
The heart of the matter
The 16-time Grand Slam champions, the Bryans did not concede a single break through the match and saved all five of the break points they faced. But it was Paes-Lu’s pin-point accuracy and calm nerves under pressure in the match tie-break that awarded them the win.
There was initially little to separate the two teams in the first set where the unseeded pair edged their famous opponents in a tie-break even though they won 39 overall points to the Bryans’ 42. The top seeds made a grand comeback in the second set and broke Paes-Lu twice following which they were unable to keep up the tempo in the deciding tie-break.
Paes and Lu will next meet the third seeds Treat Huey and Max Mirnyi for a place in the final. Huey and Mirnyi have been in impressive form and haven’t dropped a set so far.
The Indian has already faced this pair twice this year and has had mixed fortunes. In January at the ASB Classic, he and Andre Sa toppled Mirnyi and Huey in straight sets in the pre-quarter-finals. But they could not replicate that performance at the Australian Open a few days later and succumbed to a straight-sets defeat in the first round.
It has been a struggle for Paes for more than a year now. Here’s hoping that this big upset victory over the Bryans reignites the spark in the evergreen Indian.Published 25 Feb 2017, 13:55 IST