New York:Mahesh Bhupathi won his ninth grand slam title after he lifted the mixed doubles crown with Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia at the US Open. Bhupathi and Hantuchova needed an hour and a minute to defeat Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia and Katherina Srebotnik of Slovakia 6-4, 6-2. Bhupathi- Hantuchova both were in good form, the former in particular, dominant at the net. The duo capitalised on some poor net play by Zimonjic to gain a break in the seventh game of the first set. Late fight back Bhupathi and Hantuchova were immediately up 1-0 in the second set, breaking Zimonjic when his partner Srebotnik put a high forehand wide. They then forced three break points on Srebotnik's serve in the seventh game and went up 5-2. Zimonjic and Srebotnik made late fight as they forced a triple breakpoint on Hantuchova's serve. But it was all too late and Bhupathi intercepted a backhand service return from Zimonjic to seal the match. Next target "We saved a match point in the first round. And we worked hard from there on for this victory," Bhupathi said after the match. He also spoke with NDTV and was non-committal on him playing mixed doubles in the near future with Sania Mirza. But he said he has set a target for himself that of winning the only grand slam title to elude him - the Australian Open. Milestone achieved Bhupathi now becomes the most successful tennis play in Indian history. The 2005 US Open Mixed doubles title was the ninth of his career. His first came in 1997 when he became the first Indian to win a Grand slam title winning the French Open with Japan's Rika Hiraki. His partnership with Leander Paes saw them win three men's doubles title between 1999 and 2001. Bhupathi then won two doubles titles in 2002 - Wimbledon with Max Mirnyi and the US Open Mixed doubles title with Elena Likhovtseva. And having won the Wimbledon mixed doubles title in July, he now adds another feather to his cap. For Hantuchova it was here fourth career mixed doubles title having won the French Open this year, the Australian Open in 2002 and the Wimbledon in 2001.
(With PTI inputs)
Topics : Tennis