Melbourne: Leander Paes equalled the record for most Grand Slam title triumphs by an Indian as the veteran and his Zimbabwean partner Cara Black clinched the Australian Open mixed doubles Championship with a straight-set win on Sunday.
Top seeds and favourites, the 36-year-old Paes and the 30-year-old Black beat 10th seeds Ekaterina Makarova of Russia and Jaroslav Levinsky of Czechoslovakia 7-5 6-3 in just about one and a half hour.
The triumph gave the Indian his 11th overall and fifth mixed doubles title. With this, Paes has equalled one-time doubles’ partner Mahesh Bhupathi’s tally.
The last couple of times they reached a Grand Slam final, Paes and Black ended up on the losing side and eager to make amends for that, they were dominant from the word go today.
They broke their rivals as early as in the third game and save for a couple of breaks lost on Black’s serve, the Indo-Zimbabwean pair seemed hardly troubled by Makarova and Levinsky, who committed far too many unforced errors.
Black, whose net game and serve were the weak links for the top seeds, raised her game when it mattered after getting some pep talk from Paes.
Having lost her serve twice, Black held it in the all-important 12th game before Paes smashed a winner to clinch the opener 7-5.