Paes one step away from Leon Challenger title

The Indian, alongside partner Adil Shamasdin, defeated Australia’s Luke Saville and John-Patrick Smith 6-7 (1), 6-4, 10-5 in the semifinals.

Leander Paes won his last Grand Slam title in 2016.   -  R. Ragu

Leander Paes, who is named a reserve in India’s Davis Cup team for the tie against Uzbekistan, is in line to win his first title of the season with Canadian partner Adil Shamasdin. Paes and Shamasdin, seeded third, beat the giant-killing Australian pair of Luke Saville and John-Patrick Smith 6-7 (1), 6-4, 10-5 in the semifinals of the USD 75,000 Challenger Tour event.

Paes and Shamasdin will meet Luca Margaroli of Switzerland and Caro Zampieri of Brazil in the final.

It will be the first final for Paes this season. He had reached the semifinals of Dubai Championships and Delray Beach Open. The last title Paes won on the ATP World Tour was in 2015 when he triumphed at Auckland with South African Raven Klaasen.

Paes’ last Grand Slam title in the men’s doubles category was in 2013 with Radek Stepanek at the U.S. Open while in the mixed doubles he is still a force, having won three titles with Martina Hingis in 2015 and the French Open last season. Paes was named a reserve along with Rohan Bopanna with new non-playing captain Mahesh Bhupathi picking four singles players in the playing squad.

Bhupathi has said he may pick either Paes or Bopanna, if required, as a double specialist in the tie, slated for April 7-9 in Bengaluru.