Paes in final of mixed doubles, semis of men's doubles

Leander Paes continues to sizzle on the US Open courts as he stormed into the semifinals of the men's doubles and final of mixed doubles competitions.

updated: September 09, 2008 06:46 IST
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New York:

India tennis icon Leander Paes continued his dazzling US Open doubles run Tuesday, posting two victories to remain in the hunt for a pair of titles.

The clever 35-year-old veteran teamed with Czech Lukas Dlouhy to reach the men's doubles semi-finals with a 6-3, 6-7 (2/7), 6-3 victory over Sweden's Robert Lindstedt and Finland's Jarkko Nieminen.

A few hours later, Paes returned to the Grandstand court and booked safe passage to the mixed doubles finals, pairing with Cara Black of Zimbabwe to defeat Sweden's Jonas Bjorkman and Nadia Petrova of Russia 6-4, 6-4.

"I can't complain," Paes said. "I've been blessed. I've always enjoyed nice success here at the Open. I'm playing with passion. I'm motivated and it shows on court."

An ATP player for more than 17 years, Paes has won 39 doubles titles and all four Grand Slam trophies in men's doubles, most of them teamed with countryman Mahesh Bhupathi.

The Calcutta native still has a strong hunger for the game.

"How many people you know come to the office with shorts on?" Paes joked.

"I love this game. I started when I was very young. I've been doing it my whole life. For me, putting so much efforts into a sport that has given me so much is a joy."

Paes, a 1996 Atlanta Olympic bronze medallist in singles, attributed his new-found motivation to Aiyana, his 2 1/2-year-old daughter.

"She has been my lucky charm," he said. "With her, I have everything I want. I wanted to win before her and now I want to win for her."

The former doubles world number one pushed aside any notion that he will retire any time soon.

"I keep playing with passion - 31 days in a row," Paes said. "If one day, I wake up on the 32nd day and the passion is gone, it will be the end.

"But I'm not there yet."