Leander Paes created history by winning the U.S. Open mixed doubles title with Swiss partner Martina Hingis and surpassed compatriot and former partner Mahesh Bhupathi’s record.
The 42-year-old Paes now has won nine Grand Slam mixed doubles titles, against Bhupathi’s eight.
The fourth seeded India-Swiss pair, edged past unseeded Americans Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Sam Querrey 6-4 3-6 10-7 in a tricky final to win their third Major title together this season.
Paes is now only behind legendary Martina Navratilova, who won 10 mixed doubles trophies. Of those 10, two came with Paes, when they won Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2003.
With this win, Paes and Hingis, who also won Australian Open and Wimbledon titles early this season, have become the first mixed doubles team since 1969 to win three Grand Slam mixed doubles titles in the same year.
It was Paes’ 17th Grand Slam title overall and Hingis’ 19th. Hingis has won four Grand Slam titles and all of them have come with Indians. She won her first mixed doubles trophy with Bhupathi when they won 2006 Australian Open.
Hingis is also in the contention in the Women’s Doubles with Sania Mirza with whom she won the Wimbledon this year. They are up against Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan and Casey Dellacqua of Australia.
Paes and Hingis broke Mattek-Sands at love to take a 2-1 lead in the opening set as the Swiss miss hit a forehand passing shot to secure the break. That bit of momentum was all they needed, as Paes easily closed the set out at 5-4 when Hingis hit a volley winner.
A lone break of serve also decided the second set, as Mattek-Sands hit two straight winners to break Hingis’ serve as the Americans led 3-1. Hingis saved three set points on her serve at 2-5, but Querrey easily held in the next game to send the contest into a deciding super tiebreak.
The unseeded Americans were cruising as they created a 4-1 cushion when they won both points on Hingis’ serve to grab the first mini-break. But Hingis and Paes took the mini-break back on Mattek-Sands’ serve at the next opportunity.
The crucial point of the match came at 7-7, when Paes blocked Querrey’s serve for a clean passing-shot winner. He then won both points on his serve to close out the match, hitting an overhead winner on their first match point and then lifting Hingis in celebration.