DUBAI // There was a surprising conclusion to the Dubai Championship doubles tournament as India's Leander Paes, the highly experienced exponent of that art, was forced to accept second prize along with his latest partner, Lukas Dlouhy, of the Czech Republic. The second seeds were soundly beaten 6-2, 6-3 by the unseeded combination of Sweden's Simon Aspelin and Paul Hanley, of Australia.
Dlouhy suffered the ignominy of dropping his serve three times in the 56-minute contest, while Paes was broken in his first service game by the determined underdogs, who shared a purse of US$113,000 (Dh415,000). "I didn't think it was going to be this easy of a match," said Aspelin. "They struggled a little bit. But it's a huge confidence boost for the rest of this spring here. Paul and I have started the year well. We are playing with a lot of confidence right now. And it's great to win a big tournament like this here in Dubai."
Hanley added: "We had a good week in Rotterdam [a fortnight ago] making the final. So to go one better the next final we play is encouraging. "It's really important to keep the momentum going. I'm really happy with the start we've had for the year." A disconsolate Paes reflected: "We didn't play our best tennis today. I just felt that we got off to a bad start again. The last three days I've started off really poorly.
"Once you get off to a bad start, it's a drawback. But we just lost to a better team today. They played solid." Dlouhy was irritated that he and Paes could not repeat the form they had shown to overcome Christopher Kas and Dick Norman in a thrilling semi- final. "Today was a very bad match from our side," he admitted. firstname.lastname@example.org