Winston-Salem (USA): Indian tennis ace Leander Paes and his German partner Andre Begemann squandered as many as five match points in the second set to eventually lose the summit clash against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Henri Kontinen in a three-setter at the ATP Winston-Salem Open here.
Spaniard Garcia-Lopez and Kontinen of Finland overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to deny one of the ATP World Tour’s all-time greats and take the Winston-Salem Open doubles title 4-6, 7-6(6), 10-8. After winning the first set 6-4, Paes and Begemann were 6-1 ahead in the second-set tie-break, giving themselves five match points, including three on their serve, and they looked like easily pocketing the title. But Garcia-Lopez and Kontinen reeled off seven points on the trot to take the second set and even the match.
In the Match Tie-break, the first-time pairing of Garcia-Lopez and Kontinen held onto their nerves to claim their first ATP World Tour team doubles title last night. 43-year-old Paes was trying to win his 56th overall ATP World Tour title and make it 20 years in a row with at least one tour-level doubles crown. He was playing his first final of the season on ATP Tour.
Begemann was going for his first title of the season and the fifth of his career. They will receive 150 Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings points and split USD 18,470 between them. The champions duo of Garcia-Lopez and Kontinen will receive 250 Emirates ATP Doubles Ranking Points and split USD 35,150. “We just clutched up and found big serves on big points. It’s a lot of luck involved in a comeback like that… We kept believing and somehow found a way,” Kontinen said. “Doubles, everything is close. When we won the tie-break I think our energy went up, that’s why we won,” Garcia-Lopez said. PTI
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