Qureshi falls in bid for US Open mixed doubles crown

Pakistan’s Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi was thwarted in his first attempt to win a US Open doubles title when he and partner Kveta Peschke lost to Liezel Huber and Bob Bryan in Thursday’s mixed doubles final.

The US top seeds defeated Qureshi and his Czech partner 6-4, 6-4 at Arthur Ashe Stadium for the crown, Bryan’s fourth US Open mixed doubles title in eight years, each of them coming with a different partner.

“Too good. They were the better team,” Qureshi said.

Qureshi had hoped to win both the men’s and mixed doubles titles in tribute to the 21 million flood victims in his homeland from a crisis that began six weeks ago.

Qureshi and men’s doubles partner Rohan Bopanna of India, a 16th-seeded duo trying to foster peace between their rival homelands, will face top seeds Bryan and his brother Mike in Friday’s US Open final.

“It has been tough times at home due to the flooding and the terrorist attacks,” Qureshi said. “I’m glad Kveta was able to help me bring some good news to the people back home.”

Qureshi stared up at fans in the largest tennis stadium in the world and told the crowd, “I never ever will forget this moment for the rest of my life.”

Peschke, whom Qureshi called the most famous Czech woman in Pakistan, was proud of the effort by the duo in a first-time pairing.

“It was amazing. It was a really great experience, first time together,” she said. “Let’s hope the next times are even better than this one.”

Bob Bryan said after the match he and his brother will donate to Pakistan flood relief, a cause for which aid has come at a painfully slow pace with only two-thirds of the United Nations goal of 460 million dollars raised to date.

“Qureshi didn’t know about it. I talked it over with my brother and my dad and we decided to do it,” Bryan said. “I’ll write a check right after the tournament.”

Bopanna and Qureshi’s quest has won them many friends in the pro tennis world.

“Mr. Qureshi is a great player. What him and Bopanna are doing for world peace is incredible,” Bob Bryan said. “Those guys are great guys. Everyone in the locker room likes them.”

But the India-Pakistan combination has also earned respect for skills on the court as well as humanitarian goals.

“This is a tough team. They are going to be around for a long time,” said Bob Bryan. “I expect this to be one of our big rivals in the future. This is a sign of things to come.”

Huber praised the peace duo as well, saying, “I commend the boys for truly reaching out.”