London: India’s Leander Paes and his Czech partner Radek Stepanek booked their place in the semi-finals of the ATP Tour Finals after defeating Spanish duo Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez 7-5, 6-4 on Thursday.
Paes and Stepanek, seeded third, are the first doubles pair to qualify from Group A after winning both their matches without dropping a set at London’s O2 Arena.
They were pushed hard by the sixth seeds in a match lasting one hour and 31 minutes, twice having to come from a break down in the second set before eventually sprinting to the finish line with a barrage of winners.
Paes and Stepanek, who now have a dead rubber in their final match against top seeds Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, are making their first appearance together at the Tour Finals as they bid to end the Indian’s nightmare run in the final of the season-ending event.
Former doubles world number one Paes has been runner-up on four occasions, in 1997, 1999 and 2000 with compatriot Mahesh Bhupathi, and then in 2005 with Serbia’s Nenad Zimonjic.