Paes-Raja bags Knoxville Challenger title

Leander Paes and Purav Raja won their first title together after joining forces as they lifted the Knoxville Challenger trophy with a close 7-6(4), 7-6(4) win over James Cerretani and John-Patrick Smith.

The top-seeded Indian team battled past the US-Australian combination 7-6(4), 7-6(4) in the final of the $75,000 hard court event, last night. File Photo   -  Sandeep Saxena

The top seeded pair of Leander Paes and Purav Raja beat the second seeds James Cerretani and John Patrick Smith 7-6(4), 7-6(4) in the doubles final of the $75,000 Challenger tennis tournament in Knoxville, US.

It was the first title as a pair for the 44-old Leander and the 31-year-old Purav, who were competing together in their eighth tournament since joining hands in Winston-Salem before the US Open.

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The title, won without dropping a set and worth 80 ATP points and $4,650, was the second of the season for Purav who had earlier won the Bordeaux Challenger with Divij Sharan.

For Leander, it was the fourth Challenger title of the season, and all of them were distinct on different surfaces. He had won two titles with Adil Shamasdin and one with Scott Lipsky, on clay, grass and hard courts. The title with Purav was on an indoor hard court.

It was a slow but steady success for Leander and Purav, as they had made one semifinal, two quarterfinals, a second round, apart from enduring three first round exit, in earlier events.

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While the rest of the Indian players assembled for the Indian Challengers starting with the Pune event this week, Leander and Purav opted to continue with the American circuit, and will compete in the Champaign Challenger.

The results:

$75,000 Challenger men, Knoxville, US

Doubles (final): Leander Paes & Purav Raja bt James Cerretani (US) & John-Patrick Smith (Aus) 7-6(4), 7-6(4)

$15,000 ITF men, Meshref, Kuwait
Singles (first round): Shahbaaz Khan bt Anurag Nenwani 6-2, 6-2

$15,000 ITF men, Thu Dau Mot City, Vietnam
Singles (first round): Sasi Kumar Mukund bt Phongsapak Kerdlaphee (Tha) 6-3, 6-2

$25,000 ITF women, Dakar, Senegal
Qualifying singles (first and final round): Aminet Quadri (Ngr) w.o.
Purnima Shakaalya; Ashmitha Easwaramurthi bt Sarah Adegoke (Ngr) 4-6,
7-5, 6-0

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