Paes-Stepanek enter mens doubles final

Melbourne: Leander Paes and his Czech partner Radek Stepanek stunned second seeds Max Mirnyi of Belarus and Canadian Daniel Nestor to enter the final of the men`s doubles event at the Australian Open here on Thursday.

The unseeded Indo-Czech pair fought brilliantly and came from a set down to get the better of Mirni and Nestor 2-6 6-4 6-4 in a marathon semi-final encounter that lasted for two hours and 13 minutes.

Paes and Stepanek will now face top seededed American pair of Bob and Mike Bryan in the summit clash. The Bryan brothers too had to play out of their skin to beat seventh seeds Swede Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecau of Romania 4-6 6-3 7-6(5) in the other last four match.

Contrary to the result, Paes and Stepanek were slow to start of the blocks in the semi-final against Mirnyi and Nestor. The Indo-Czech pair looked out of sorts initially and lost their serves twice to hand over the first set 2-6 to their opponents in just 32 minutes.

Paes and Stepanek, however, made a strong comeback in the next set and broke Mirnyi and Nestor once to drew parity. But it turned out to be a roller-coaster of a deciding set for Paes and Stepanek as they lost their service once but broke their opponents twice out of the four opportunities to seal a place in the title clash.