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Paes/Stepanek Triumph In Shanghai

Shanghai, China

Paes, Stepanek© AFP/Getty ImagesLeander Paes and Radek Stepanek won their third tour-level title of the season.

Fourth seeds Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek captured their third tour-level title of the season as they defeated seventh seeds Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna 6-7(7), 6-3, 10-5 on Sunday in the final of the Shanghai Rolex Masters.

The Indian/Czech tandem saved four of the five break points they faced and broke their opponents twice to claim victory in one hour and 36 minutes. Paes and Stepanek won 50 per cent of points on Bhupathi/Bopanna’s second serve and won 70 per cent of their own service points.

"Today was a bit more of a personal match for us three Indians," said Paes. "Radek came in and he made it fun for me. He relaxed, laughed, joked. Said, 'stay smooth, relaxed and have a hungry intensity'. I come up and make it fun for him and try and take over whenever I can."

Paes and Stepanek, who have already qualified for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London, earned 1000 ATP World Tour ranking points and $207,320. Four spots remain at the year-end championships, with Bhupathi and Bopanna bolstering their claim by receiving 600 ranking points.

Paes and Stepanek joined forces full time at the start of the season and enjoyed instant success with victory at the Australian Open (d. Bryans). They soon followed with the title at the Sony Open Tennis in Miami (d. Mirnyi/Nestor). Last month they were finalists at the US Open (l. to Bryans) and they came into Shanghai on the back of finishing runners-up at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships (l. to Peya/Soares) in Tokyo.

"We've had a great year," said Paes. "It started off with a big bang. To do well early in a partnership is something that can happen. But to continue playing well right through the whole year shows the quality of tennis that we play."

The 39-year-old Paes captured his 51st tour-level title. It is his second victory in Shanghai, having also won this ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown in 2010 with Jurgen Melzer. The 33-year-old Stepanek improved to a 16-12 record in tour-level doubles finals.

Bhupathi and Bopanna dropped to a 1-2 finals record in 2012.They were victorious at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (d. Fyrstenberg/Matkowski) in March and were runners-up at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati (l. to Lindstedt/Tecau) in August. 

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© Hiroshi Sato

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