Veteran Leander Paes brushed off the disappointment of Rio Olympics as he and his German partner Andre Begemann made it to the final of the ATP Winston-Salem Open beating Swede Robert Lindstedt and Pakistan’s Aisam-ul Haq Qureshi in a close encounter.
The Indo-German pair won 1-6 7-6 10-4 courtesy super tie-break. The duo will be meeting Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Finland’s Henri Kontinen. The Spanish-Finn pair beat had an easy outing in the semi-finals beating Croatia’s Mate Pavic and New Zealand’s Michael Venus 7-6 6-3.
In the semi-final match, Paes and Begemann were broken twice as they surrendered the first set 1-6. In the second set, Paes-Begemann did well to hold their serve before clinching the tie-breaker as the Indian legend and seven-time Olympian was again at his best at the net. Paes’ experience and younger legs of 32-year-old Begemann came to the fore in the super tie-break as they converted the mini-breaks effectively to close in the match.
Paes will be playing his first final of the season on ATP Tour. The 43-year-old legend, who has had to play a number of Challenger level tournaments this season, has seen his ranking plummet to 72. He won two titles - Biella (Italy) and Busan (Korea) -- on the Challenger circuit. Before this, reaching the semifinals of the Delray Beach Open with Jeremy Chardy was Paes’ best show this season. They had lost to Mike and Bob Bryan