MELBOURNE, Jan 27(TOI): Reliving their old magic, Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi earned a chance to complete their Grand Slam cabinet by reaching the men's doubles final of the Australian Open on Thursday.
The third seed Indian Express, as they are known, pipped the second seed pair of Belarusian Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor of Canada 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-3 in the semifinal at Melbourne Park.
They will play against top seed American twins and double defending champions Mike and Bob Bryan in the summit clash.
The Bryan brothers eased past unseeded duo of Eric Butorac and Jean-Julien Rojer 6-3, 6-2 in 54 minutes in their semifinal.
Paes and Bhupathi decided to rejoin the forces after nine years to win that elusive Australian Open trophy, at the start of the season.
They came into Australian Open in a good nick as they clinched the Chennai Open at home.
Paes has won 12 Grand Slam titles and Bhupathi 11 in their respective careers but they have never won Australian Open men's doubles trophy.
Interestingly, Bhupathi has not won a men's doubles Grand Slam title since 2002 US Open with max Mirnyi.
Paes and Bhupathi last played together at a Grand Slam at Australian Open in 2002 when they reached the second round.
Paes and Bhupathi had to sweat a lot against Mirnyi and Nestor as both the pairs fought tooth and nail before the Indians prevailed.
There was hardly anything to separate the two teams as they broke each other twice in the opening set, which was decided through a tie-break in the favour of the Indians.
Paes and Bhupathi had their chances to clinch the issue in straight sets but squandered two breakpoints and dropped their own serve once to allow their rivals to take the match to the third set.
They did not repeat the mistake in the deciding set and converted the first available chance to open up lead and end on the right side of the result after two hours and 20 minutes.