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Sugiyama, Bhupathi win mixed doubles crown
Posted: Thursday September 09, 1999 05:12 PM
NEW YORK (Reuters) -- Ai Sugiyama of Japan and Mahesh Bhupathi of India captured the first title at the U.S. Open tennis championships by beating Americans Kimberly Po and Donald Johnson 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday in the mixed doubles final.
The second-seeded team of Sugiyama and Bhupathi shared the winners' prize of $124,000.
The unseeded Po and Johnson, who eliminated top seeds Lisa Raymond of the United States and Leander Paes of India in the second round, will split $62,000.
The victory marked the first Grand Slam title for Sugiyama.
"It's great," beamed Sugiyama, who said their semifinal and final match was televised back home in Japan. "I think a lot of Japanese were coming to watch our matches. I'm really glad that they support us."
For Bhupathi, the victory marked his second Grand Slam mixed doubles title with a Japanese partner. The Indian won the 1997 French Open crown with Rika Hiraki.
"Japanese girls are lucky for me," joked Bhupathi.
"I think the best part [of playing with Sugiyama] is, win or lose, she's always smiling on the court. No matter what the situation is. That keeps me very relaxed."
Bhupathi will get the chance to double up on his Open success when he teams up with Paes in the men's doubles final on Friday.
Top-seeded Bhupathi and Paes, the French Open and Wimbledon champions, meet American Alex O'Brien and Sebastien Lareau of Canada.
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