Miami: In the first doubles match played on the stadium court in this year’s Sony Ericsson Open, seventh-seeded Leander Paes of India and his Czech partner Radek Stepanek defeated Spaniards David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco in straight sets, 7-6 (6), 6-4, to enter the semifinals here Wednesday.
Paes and Stepanek played superior tennis, committing 11 unforced errors and hitting 21 winners, including a fine forehand smash by Paes to finish the match.
Paes and Stepanek have partnered to win all six sets thus far in the tournament and are now 12-2 as a team in 2012.
They’ll meet the top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan of the United States in the semifinal.
The Bryan brothers have also won all six sets so far. However, Paes and Stepanek were able to beat them 7-6 (1), 6-2, in the doubles final of the Australian Open in January.
A week prior to that match, the Bryans needed two tiebreaks to overcome Paes and Stepanek 7-6 (5), 7-6 (7) in a quarterfinal at Sydney.
Paes’ compatriots Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna, seeded sixth here, are already through to the semifinals, outlasting No. 3 seeds Michael Llodra of France and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia, 2-6, 6-3, 10-8, Wednesday.
The Indians will next take on the winner of the other quarter-final between the Polish-Serbian duo of Lukasz Kubot-Janko Tipsarevic and Max Mirnyi of Belarus and Daniel Nestor of Canada.
The Indian combo, who had recently won the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, saved as many as four breakpoints out of six against the French-Serbian pair.