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'Indo-Pak Express' In US Open Finals

New York: There was no stopping the 'Indo-Pak Express' as Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi inched closer to their maiden Grand Slam title together by advancing to the US Open finals here. Continuing with their
PTI September 09, 2010 11:00 IST
PTI
New York: There was no stopping the 'Indo-Pak Express' as Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi inched closer to their maiden Grand Slam title together by advancing to the US Open finals here.

Continuing with their message of 'Stop War, Start Tennis', 16th seeds Bopanna and Qureshi beat Argentines Eduardo Schwank and Horacio Zeballos 7-6 (5) 6-4 to set up a summit clash with top-seeded American brothers Bob and Mike Bryan in the finals.

"I mean, to win a Grand Slam you have to beat the best there is. That's what Aisam and me keep telling (each other)," Bopanna said after the win last night.

The Indo-Pak duo was cheered on from the stands by, among others, the United Nations ambassadors from their respective countries. India's ambassador Harpreet Suri and his Pakistan counterpart Abdullah H Haroon even met the two players after the match.

Though there summit clash seems tough on paper against the Americans but Bopanna and Qureshi can draw confidence from the fact that they beat the Bryans just a few weeks ago in an ATP tournament in Washington.

"They are the best out there now. For us, we just have to go there, play our games. You know, we just beat them few weeks ago in Washington, so, you know, we are really looking forward to that Friday match, and we go in confident, playing and doing well there," Bopanna said.

Qureshi said his pairing with Bopanna has worked perfectly so far because he shares a warm relationship with the Indian off-court as well.

"I always believed if we played consistently on ATP, me and Rohan both as a team, we can do really well on the tour and we can make our mark," he said.

"And in the last past two or three months we have had I think wins against all the top 10 teams in the world. It just shows that I was pretty right about our pairing together, and you know, it would be just a matter of time. I always believe we can do really well in the Grand Slam on the ATP circuit.   "Making quarterfinals at Wimbledon was a huge learning experience. I definitely learned a lot from it, and that whole experience is definitely paying off in this US Open these last two weeks," he added.

AFP adds: Pakistan's Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi has reached the US Open men's and mixed doubles finals and hopes to win both in tribute to the 21 million flood victims in his homeland. 

He and Czech partner Kveta Peschke have reached Thursday's mixed doubles final. 

"The only motivation I have for these two weeks is to get these titles for the people back home," Qureshi said. "I'm trying to send some positive news back home with the floods and everything." 

Qureshi has been quick to praise Bopanna's role in helping him try to win some glory for Pakistan's flood-hit people. 

"I want to thank Rohan for helping me in doing this," he said. "My partner has been great. I'm lucky to have him." 

Bopanna praised Qureshi for recovering from his mixed doubles semifinal on Tuesday night to be at full strength to oust the South American duo and book a showdown with the Bryans. 

"All credit to him. He had all his energy up," Bopanna said. "It has been great to be friends on and off the court. I'm hoping I can help him take both titles back home and send some positive news to Pakistan. 

"I'm really looking forward to the finals against the Bryans. To be the best you have to beat the best."