In a match the lasted 73 minutes, the local favourites won their first title together and Paes’ sixth doubles title here. Tipsarevic played the match right after losing the singles final. Asked how he had managed such a physically difficult task, Tipsarevic said, “I had a very hard pre-season. I have that every year, fitness in general is one of my strength”.
About Paes, he said, “I love playing with someone who loves to ask me something but also to give something”. Paes and Tipsarevic wrapped up the title in game 10 of the second set on Paes’ serve, right after they had broken Erlich in the previous game.
Serving for the set, Paes and Tipsarevic were aided in their cause after Erlich hit two consecutive serve returns long from the baseline. At 40-0 up and three match points at their disposal, Ram and Erlich left a Paes volley sail unharmed between them, gifting the first doubles title to the Indo-Serbian pair.
Erlich and Ram have already been runners up once in the Chennai Open, losing in the 2004 doubles final to the Spanish pair of Rafael Nadal and Tommy Robredo. Paes said, “I know how difficult it is mentally to play two finals on the same day. The way he (Tipsarevic) prepared for both the finals, it was impeccable. He epitomises what an athlete should be.”
Following their semifinal victory over Rajeev Ram and Scott Lipsky yesterday, Paes had attributed the success of his partnership with Serbian Janko Tipsarevic to their “work ethic”.
The Indo-Serbian pair showed much of it today, with Tipsarevic, who had just lost the singles final, which lasted more than three hours, to Milos Raonic, taking the field after a short break.
38-year-old Paes summoned his vast reserves of experience in the light of Tipsarevic’s exertions, regularly running up to his teammate and offering words of encouragement and shouting “Out!” from a forward position even as a return sailed over his head.
Despite Paes’ efforts, however, Tipsarevic looked tired after his epic final loss to Raonic, and gifted many a point to the opposition with his wayward service returns and backhand volleys which found only the net.
The first set started in an auspicious manner for the Indo-Serbian duo, with the local favourites notching up a 3-0 lead, including breaking their opponents twice. After breaking Andy Ram in the very first game to go 1-0 up, Paes and Tipsarevic held serve in the next game, before breaking Ram and Erlich in the third game.
The Israeli pair immediately broke back, when Tipsarevic sealed the breakpoint for the opposition by sending a backhand return long. The second set saw Paes and Tipsarevic break the opposition twice, in games one and nine, while the opposition could break them only once, in game two on Paes’ serve.
Though their only break in the set was an immediate break back to level things after Paes and Tipsarevic had broken Erlich to 1-0 up, the Israeli pair could not take advantage of it.