India’s evergreen tennis ace Leander Paes returned to winning ways as he claimed the $100,000 Busan Open Challenger doubles title along with Sam Groth of Australia on Sunday. The top seeds had to work hard for the 4-6, 6-1, 10-7 victory over the second-seeded Thai twins Sanchai Ratiwatana and Sonchat Ratiwatana in the final that lasted 1 hour 9 minutes.
This is Leander’s first Challenger doubles triumph in 16 years and his overall 18th title at this level. This is also his first tournament win of any kind in 2016.
Groth and Paes put in a 67% of first serves and managed to earn two breaks of serve in the whole match, both of which came in the second set. That helped them to level the contest after their first set loss.
But the experienced Thai players, who had defeated Purav Raja and Divij Sharan in the semi-finals, refused to go away easily in the ensuing match tie-break. The Indo-Australian combine still managed to hold their nerves and clinch the hard-fought tie-break in the end.
Prior to this, the start of the 2016 season had not been kind to the 17-time Grand Slam champion Paes. Struggling with inconsistencies, the currently 57th ranked Leander sought to sharpen his skills at the Challenger level and the decision definitely paid off.
His partnership, especially with the big-serving Groth, has worked wonders and the two reached the final in their very first tournament together at the Mexican Challenger in early April.
After enduring a tough loss in the final there, the duo now clinched the title in their third tournament of the season.
Paes tweeted the following on social media:Published 08 May 2016, 15:07 IST