Leander Paes wins 15th Grand Slam title with Martina Hingis at Australian Open
Melbourne, Feb 1 (IANS)
Indian tennis star Leander Paes and his Swiss partner Martina Hingis beat the French-Canadian team of Kristina Mladenovic and Daniel Nestor in straight sets to clinch the Australian Open mixed doubles crown here Sunday.
Paes, contesting his 25th season on the ATP World Tour, and Hingis defeated defending champions Mladenovic and Nestor 6-4, 6-3 in the final that lasted an hour and two minutes.
Paes has now won 15 Grand Slam championship titles - eight men's doubles and seven mixed doubles. It was his third mixed doubles triumph at Melbourne Park, having also won in 2003 (with Martina Navratilova) and 2010 (with Cara Black).
"It's a great honour to keep coming back to Australia," said 41-year-old Paes.
"There are a few people who got us together. All you guys back home, who put us together to win our first Grand Slam, thank you."
In the first set, Paes and Hingis took a 3-0 lead, but Nestor and Mladenovic's I-formation caused problems and they soon levelled the scoreline.
At 4-5, a backhand drive volley error by Mladenovic gave Paes and Hingis a set point opportunity on Nestor's serve. He struck a double fault to end the 29-minute first set.
Nestor and Mladenovic broke Hingis for a 2-1 lead in the second set, but Mladenovic was broken in the next game.
Net errors by Nestor paved the way to hand Paes and Hingis a 4-2 lead, but Nestor regained his rhythm on return of serve to break Hingis again.
Mladenovic was broken in the eighth game and Hingis went on to seal victory with a smash winner.
Paes and Hingis converted five of their seven break point opportunities, hitting 19 winners and committing just 11 unforced errors for victory on Rod Laver Arena.
Former World No.1 Hingis also won the Australian Open mixed doubles title in 2006 (with Mahesh Bhupathi).
"(We were) probably just maybe a little less aggressive on some second serves to Hingis," said Nestor.
"Too many double-faults. I was maybe a little too aggressive with the second serve."
Nestor said, "They played better for sure. Even when I thought I was serving okay, they were still making a lot of balls. They played well."
Leander Paes’ Grand Slam titles:
Men’s doubles (eight titles):
1. 1999 French Open with Mahesh Bhupathi
2. 1999 Wimbledon with Mahesh Bhupathi
3. 2001 French Open with Mahesh Bhupathi
4. 2006 US Open with Martin Damm
5. 2009 French Open with Lukas Dlouhy
6. 2009 US Open with Lukas Dlouhy
7. 2012 Australian Open with Radek Stepanek
8. 2013 US Open with Radek Stepanek
Mixed doubles (seven titles):
1. 1999 Wimbledon with Lisa Raymond
2. 2003 Australian Open with Martina Navratilova
3. 2003 Wimbledon with Martina Navratilova
4. 2008 US Open with Cara Black
5. 2010 Australian Open with Cara Black
6. 2010 Wimbledon with Cara Black
7. 2015 Australian Open with Martina Hingis