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January 25, 2014

Butorac falls in finals of Australian Open

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — Lukasz Kubot and Robert Lindstedt won the Australian Open men's double title in their first Grand Slam as a team, beating American Eric Butorac and South Africa's Raven Klaasen 6-3, 6-3 in Saturday's final.

Butorac is a Gustavus Adolphus College graduate. It marked the first time he reached the finals of a grand slam event in his 11-year professional career.

"I never dreamed that I would actually play in (the Australian Open) and to be here playing in a Grand Slam final was an absolute dream come true," Butorac said.

Kubot and Lindstedt dominated from the start, fending off the only breakpoint they faced and wrapping up victory in an hour and five minutes.

Lindstedt of Sweden has previously lost three Grand Slam doubles finals — all at Wimbledon with Horia Tecau. Poland's Kubot was playing for his first major title.

The 36-year-old Linstedt said he was originally supposed to play with Jurgen Melzer, but scrambled to find a new partner last month when Melzer was injured.

"I'm quite happy that you said yes," Lindstedt told Kubot in his acceptance speech.

Kubot also played in the singles, losing to Nikolay Davydenko in the first round.

After the match Kubot celebrated by fulfilling a promise to his family and performing a cancan dance on center court, while a clearly emotion Lindstedt couldn't hold back his tears.

Kubot "has a singles career, too. For me, this is all I've got. I've been working so hard, so hard, for this," Lindstedt said. "Fighting injuries and working with the right people back home, trying to find ways to make this happen ... it means absolutely everything to me."

Butorac and Klaasen — who had an upset win over top-ranked Bob and Mike Bryan in the third round — increased their tempo in the second set to stay in touch, but couldn't produce the vital break needed before their rivals served out the match. In the first round, they beat local favorite Pat Rafter, who came out of retirement at the age of 41 to play doubles with fellow Australian Lleyton Hewitt.

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