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Paes, Rikl lift doubles title

Dubai: Leander Paes, partnering Czech David Rikl, clinched the doubles title in the Dubai Open Sunday night.

Playing under lights, the pair made short work of Wayne Black and Kevin Ullyett of Zimbabwe to carve out a facile 6-3, 6-0 win. The triumph was worth Paes and Rikl $15,600.

This was Paes’ 25th career doubles crown. Bhupathi has 26.

Ullyett pulled a muscle towards the end of the first set but overcame the injury to return to action. However, Paes and Rikl proved too good in the end.

The Czech association seems to be going well for the Indian ace.

He won the mixed doubles at the Australian Open this year, with the legendary Martina Navratilova — a US citizen of Czech origin. And now he has struck gold with Rikl in what was their fifth event as a pair.

The pair dominated Sunday’s final with superb service returns and down the line forehands, which often caught their opponents on the wrong foot.

“Playing with Paes is a pleasure and I am glad I am into a partnership with such a good doubles player,” Rikl said after the match.

In the semis, Paes and Rikl knocked out top seeds Jonas Bjorkman and Todd Woodbridge 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 while Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi lost 4-6, 6-0, 6-7 to Black and Ullyett.

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