New York, Sep 11 (IANS): India's Rohan Bopanna and Pakistan's Aisam-Ul-Qureshi put up a spirited fight but failed to stop the top seeded Americans Mike and Bob Bryan from winning their third US Open tennis doubles title, 7-6(5), 7-6(4) here Friday.
It was 16th-seeded Bopanna and Qureshi's maiden Grand Slam final and the two played their hearts out to make it a thrilling contest on a windy day.
The self-dubbed "Indo-Pak Express" has already made it clear that they are playing for a cause much higher than winning titles.
For Bryans, the 32-year-old identical twins, it was also their ninth Grand Slam title, leaving them just two behind the all time record of Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde's Grand Slams tally. Bob Bryan also won the mixed doubles title Thursday with fellow American Liezl Huber against Qureshi and Czech Kveta Peschke.
The Americans have already set the men’s tour record for most doubles titles in Los Angeles in July and could set another at the end of this year for most seasons ended ranked No. 1 in the world. The Bryans beat Bopanna and Qureshi in L.A. before losing to them the following week in Washington, their only loss this summer.
The India-Pakistan pairing played an attacking game and delighted the sizeable crowd with occasional sparring with the Bryans at the net. Bopanna and Qureshi served huge, popping aces at will, but it was the American brothers who nosed ahead with a consistent game.
Bopanna and Qureshi reached their third tour-level final at the Pilot Pen in the run up to the US Open. They were finalists in Nice and Casablanca earlier in the year. The two captured their first ATP World Tour doubles title in Johannesburg in February. They also reached their maiden Wimbledon quarter-final this year.
An emotional Bopanna-Qureshi, whose attempt at promoting peace between their countries came to the spotlight during their two-week stint here, thanked the crowd for support. The two have been sporting shirts with "Stop War, Start Tennis" written on the back.
"It's has been a great run for us. I want to thank Aisam to play with me. It has been fanstastic two weeks. We have lost to the Bryans, who are the best doubles team in the world.
"Hopefully, we can meet them in some other tournament and give them a bit of a fight. I want to thank all the crowd who gave us tremendous support. I will also like to thank my family who came all the way from India to watch the final," Bopanna said.
Aisam said they lost to a better team. He also used the occasion to talk about the prejudice which Pakistanis have been facing in the US.
"Well, it is my second loss in as many days. The Indo-Pak Express was going well till we met the Bryans. They were really good. Today is Eid and I will like to wish everyone in Pakistan and Muslims all over the world. Today is also my sister's birthday. I am sorry I couldn't get the best present for her.
"I will really like to thank the crowd. I would also like to say that whenever someone from our country comes here, they are considered to be from a terrorist state. It is not true. Pakistan is a peace loving country. We all love peace as much as you do."