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Bhupathi-Knowles lose Aus Open final

January 31, 2009 18:21 IST

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Mahesh Bhupathi's [Images] seven-year Grand Slam title drought in men's doubles continued after the Indian and his Bahamian partner Mark Knowles [Images] squandered a one-set lead to go down to Bob and Mike Bryan in a three-set final at the Australian Open [Images] in Melbourne on Saturday.

In a match which saw the third-seeded Indo-Bahamian pair's fortunes nose-dive after the opening set, the second-seeded American brothers showed remarkable resilience to come out triumphant 2-6, 7-5, 6-0.

It was a perfect start to the proceedings for Bhupathi and Knowles as they broke the Americans in the opening game before racing to a 3-1 lead. Bhupathi and Knowles broke the Bryans once again in the fifth game to wrap up the opener in just 27 minutes.

However, it all went downhill for them thereafter as Bryans roared back into the match. The second set went on serve and both the teams frittered away a break point each before the American edged past. Bob and Mike earned a couple of break points in the 12th game and this time they made no mistake, converting the chance to make it 1-1.

The third set completely belonged to the second seeds and they were simply unstoppable, breaking the Indo-Bahamian pair thrice to seal the match. It took Bryans just 23 minutes to brush aside the Indian challenge in the deciding set.

Bhupathi's doubles titles hopes may be over but he is still in contention for a title at the season's first Grand Slam as he has also made it to the mixed doubles final with Sania Mirza [Images].

The duo takes on France's [Images] Nathalie Dechy and Andy Ram Israel in the final on Sunday.

Bhupathi last won a men's doubles Grand Slam title in 2002 when he teamed up with Max Mirnyi [Images] to lift the U S Open. He has never won the Australian Open men's doubles title and his other three Grand Slam titles in the event have come at the 1999 French Open and Wimbledon [Images] and the 2001 French Open. All three of these titles came with his now-estranged partner Leander Paes [Images].

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