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Why the Leander Paes-Radek Stepanek Partnership Works

January 26, 2012

Sorry I didn’t stay up late enough to find out who the Bryan brothers would be playing!

As it turns out, it’s going to be the new doubles sensation sweeping some nations, Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek, who knocked off Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor, the number-two seeds, in three sets.

From the second round on, the Indian-Czech duo has been knocking off seeded opponents, accounting for the 14th, 3rd and 10th seeds before this latest win.

Not bad for a couple of guys that have played together fewer times than you can count on one hand! Here are my thoughts on why they’ve had such a great Aussie, and could have a great ’12:

* Paes can play with anyone. The guy is easily one of the greatest doubles players of all time. He has amazing touch and feel around the net, as well as incredible anticipation and reflexes. That’s been true ever since he was a junior, and while the lack of firepower might have hurt him in singles, it hasn’t slowed him at all in doubles. As far as individual doubles players (if that’s a phrase that makes sense!) I think you have to put him up there with Todd Woodbridge, and a couple of notches below John McEnroe.

* Stepanek is a bit of a freak. I’m not talking “odd-bird” freak, even though with the worm dancing, it might seem that way. No, I’m talking about physically. He’s 33 and is consistently ranked among the top 35 in singles. He can slug it out from the baseline, but is always in attack mode. Plus, he’s a player that actually went in reverse by first making waves in doubles, then finding singles success.

* They both enjoy the battle. When looking at players that put it all out there emotionally–sometimes to the extent of getting under their opponents’ skin–you have to start with these two. They might nail you with a ball or two, they might play to the crowd, but it’s all part of the process for them.

These guys have a lot on the line in this final matchup against the Bryans: Stepanek is still trying to win his first Grand Slam title, while Paes looks to bring home his first Aussie after three runner-up finishes. The Bryans are definite favorites, but you can be sure Paes and Stepanek are going to make them work for the title.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Saurabh permalink
    January 28, 2012 11:44 am

    u said it first brother…they played awsome tennis today:)

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