Originally created 07/05/99

India team wins Wimbledon doubles



WIMBLEDON, England -- India's Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes added the Wimbledon title Sunday to the one they claimed at the French Open a month ago, confirming themselves as the world's No. 1 doubles team.

The top-seeded pair defeated No. 8 Paul Haarhuis and Jared Palmer 6-7 (12-10), 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), in their third five-set match of the tournament.

In the quarterfinals, the India team rallied after losing the first two sets and beat Sebastien Lareau and Alex O'Brien. In the semifinals, they were taken to five sets by Olivier Delaitre and Fabrice Santoro.

It was the pair's third consecutive Grand Slam final, following their victory over Goran Ivanisevic and Jeff Tarango at Paris and a five-set defeat by Jonas Bjorkman and Patrick Rafter at the Australian Open.

The last team to appear in three consecutive Grand Slam finals was Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde, who reached five straight finals from 1996-1997.

"I think we put a lot more work into this one," Bhupathi said. "This is probably our best performance to date. I never thought we could win this tournament. We've never done well on grass, and the last three matches we beat tough teams. All three were comebacks."

Having never gone beyond the second round at Wimbledon, the duo from India didn't expect to win, and didn't know what to do when they did.

"When we won, we were just looking at each other," Bhupathi said. "I didn't know what to do. I think I had tears in my eyes and he (Paes) was ready to cry. For us to win Wimbledon, it's always been a dream, and to be honest a dream that we never thought would come true."

What made their triumph more surprising was that Bhupathi had a stomach muscle injury that forced him to pull out of some upcoming tournaments.

"I've been playing with it the last few days," he said. "It's just got worse and worse and I can't even reach up when that thing (the injury) is cold."

Bhupathi and Paes complement each other well.

"We fight well together as a team," Bhupathi said. "It's his speed at the net, his quick hands and his speed around the court, and I hit my big serves, big returns, and he closes out the point.

"We just keep egging each other on. That's why we're so good together."

In the other event of the American-Indian doubles sweeps, singles champion Lindsay Davenport and fellow American Corina Morariu defeated South African Mariaan de Swardt and Ukraine's Elena Tatarkova 6-4, 6-4.

Paes also teamed in mixed doubles with American Lisa Raymond to win that title, downing Sweden's Jonas Bjorkman and Russia's Anna Kournikova 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.