Chennai: The two old warhorses Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi showcased their doubles skills and guile for a comfortable 6-4, 7-6 (3) win against Philipp Marx and Ken Skupski to complete the semi-finals line up in the Aircel ATP Chennai Open tennis tournament here on Friday.
Coming together on the tour after a nine-year break, Paes and Bhupathi, the top seeds here, will next meet the Croatian combo of Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig in the semi-finals.
The other semi-final has Janko Tipsarevic and Simone Bolelli taking on Robin Haase and David Martin.
Paes, 37, and Bhupathi, 36, decided to patch-up and re-unite this season in a bid to capture the Australian Open title, the only Grand Slam the two have not won together, but going by their Friday's performance, they still have a mountain to climb.
Both excelled at the net that they attacked at every opportunity to leave the German-British pair floundering. There were also some searing return of serves from both Paes and Bhupathi who had one break of serve in the fifth game en route to winning the first set.
In the second, the two pairs traded breaks and the set flowed into a tie-break. The home team broke early and went on to pouch the match that lasted an hour and 24 minutes.
The tight second demanded a lot of experience to come out of the corner and this the Indians had in plentiful and the two showed flashes of the old magic that had earned them the No 1 spot nearly a decade ago.
Paes said the crowd support did help them to survive some tense moments, especially in the tie-break, but he attributed the victory to team effort.
"Yes, the atmosphere around us was tremendous. We feed on the energy coming from the crowd, but a first timer, it is pressure. But it was basically a team effort that carried us through," he said.
On playing a match after a three-day break due to his illness, Paes said: "It was just as well that we had a three-day break. If we had played on Tuesday, I doubt we would have won."
Bhupathi summed up saying: "Both have big serves, but we have never made it easy for us, committing mistakes. We still have a lot of chemistry between us on and off the court and that helps."
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