The No. 3 seeded pair Leander Paes and Lukas Dlouhy beat the unseeded pair of Wesley Moodie and Dick Norman to become 2009 French Open Men’s Doubles Championship.
This was the maiden Grand Slam for the Czech, while the fifth Grand Slam doubles championship for the Indian, Leander Paes.
In line with the upsets in the Singles, the final for the championship featured two unexpected pairs as the No. 3 seed Czech/Indian pair created a huge upset by toppling the clay monster pair and the No. 1 seed of Nestor/Zimonjic.
Nestor/Zimonjic had won four clay court tournaments coming into the Open—while the unseeded Moodie/Norman upset the evergreen Bryan brothers (as the American pair faltered yet again at clay after their maiden title in 2003).
The stadium, although sparse, featured some big personalities, as Martina Navratilova was present to cheer for her former mixed doubles partner Leander Paes. Present alongside her was the Software Giant and philanthropist, and ex-chairman of Microsoft, Bill Gates!
Paes/Dlouhy started in lousy fashion as they lost serve early in the opening set, and were spraying balls around the court as they quickly found themselves 2-5 down facing serve.
At this moment, Leander Paes suffered a terrible blow to the eye by Norman’s fast volley. Paes was hardly able to open his eyes, and the game halted for ten minutes as he tended to his eyes with ice.
The break was a wake-up call for the pair, as they showed superlative tennis in the next two sets and made me applaud this highly underrated and ignored form of tennis.
Leander Paes was the Great Wall of China at the net, as he showed supreme reflexes, McEnroeish volleys, and amazing overheads, to keep the opponents continuously off guard. Dlouhy, looked like an ideal match for his strengths, as he has big serves and huge inside out forehands to complement Paes' acumen at the net.
The strong baseline support was missing in Paes’ pairings since his splitting with his compatriot Mahesh Bhupathi.
The pair showed good tactical minds as they mixed their games with good lobs and flat-n-quick returns of serves. It was fascinating to watch the pair rearrange themselves all over the court, to provide beautiful court coverage.
Paes constantly guided his big serving partner with clever use of his four fingers behind-his-back to point out the part of the court Dlouhy should serve.
In the end, it was a thoroughly dominating performance by the No. 3 seeded pair, and they provided a pleasant change from the relatively slower pace of Singles tennis. So frenetic was the pace of play, that two to three shots were easily hit per second during rallies.
Half volleys were pulled off routinely, while returns were directed right at the shoe laces of players.
The final should provide a much needed boost to the doubles part of tennis, which suffers from the lack of brand players and ignorance over the fan-favorite singles championship.
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