Doubles specialist signs up for SA Open

2009-01-29 00:00

MAHESH Bhupathi, who has reached the final of the Australian Open men’s doubles, will be competing in the SA Tennis Open at Montecasino in Johannesburg from Monday to next Sunday.

India’s Bhupathi, who is on the verge of achieving a men’s doubles grand slam after he and partner Mark Knowles of the Bahamas defeated Lukasz Kubot of Poland and Austrian Oliver Marach 6-3 6-1 in Melbourne yesterday, has entered the doubles draw at Montecasino.

If the Indian and his partner can beat American twins Bob and Mike Bryan, the second seeds, in Saturday’s final, Bhupathi will have won all four grand slam doubles titles.

Bhupathi is ranked sixth in the world, but his doubles ranking will improve by the time he gets to Johannesburg. The Indian and compatriot Leander Paes won the French Open in 1999 and 2001, and Wimbledon in 1999, while he and Max Mirnyi of Belarus won the U.S. Open in 2002.

Bhupathi and Paes also finished runners-up in Melbourne in 1999. The pair parted ways after a tempestuous relationship. In SA he will be playing with countryman Rohan Bopanna.

SA’s Rik de Voest will play with Ashley Fisher of Australia. South Africa’s other prospects are Jeff Coetzee and Wesley Moodie, ranked world 13 and 14 respectively.

Official doubles acceptance: Mahesh Bhupathi/Rohan Bopanna (Ind), Jeff Coetzee/Wesley Moodie (Rsa), David Ferrer/Ivan Navarro (Spa), Marcel Granollers/Santiago Ventura (Spa), Rik de Voest (Rsa)/Ashley Fisher (Aus), James Cerretani (USA)/Dick Norman (Bel), Yves Allegro/Horia Tecau (Sui), David Skoch (Cze)/Igor Zelenay (Svk), Marcos Baghdatis (Cyp)/Jeremy Chardy (Fra), Lenardo Mayer/Sergio Roitman (Arg) and Jaroslav Levinsky (Cze)/Jean-Claude Scherrer (Sui).

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