© Astana Open

Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic in action on Friday in Astana.

Mektic/Pavic Squeeze Into Astana Final

Matos/Vega Hernandez reach championship match in Tokyo

Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic found a hot streak just in the nick of time against Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos on Friday at the Astana Open, where the second seeds won the final five points of the match to clinch a 3-6, 7-6(4), 10-7 semi-final victory.

Mektic and Pavic trailed 5-7 in the Match Tie-break before their late heroics capped a dramatic one-hour, 44-minute triumph as the Croatian pair surged to their eighth tour-level final of the season at the ATP 500 event in Kazakhstan.

Mektic and Pavic, who are currently fourth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Teams Rankings, will now bid for their fifth ATP Tour crown of the year against Adrian Mannarino and Fabrice Martin in Sunday’s final. The French pairing scored a narrow semi-final win of its own, taking out Hubert Hurkacz and Jan Zielinski 2-6, 6-2, 10-5.

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It is the first time Mannarino has advanced to a tour-level doubles final.

“I didn’t even know it was my first doubles final. No, I won’t get emotional with this one,” said the left-hander, who has reached 11 singles finals, including when Astana first hosted an ATP event in 2020.

“I hope we’re going to make it all the way. Let’s try to build something out of this tournament.”

Martin, No. 54 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, reached his 19th career doubles final but first of the season.

“It’s super nice. I’ve had a tough year this year,” said the 36-year-old. “Trying to find a partner, and I felt I was playing great the whole year, physically well. Luckily, Adrian was keen to play doubles. We’re great friends and always have fun on court so that was a good option to finish the year well.”

Matos/Vega Hernandez Seal Final Berth In Tokyo
At the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo, Rafael Matos and David Vega Hernandez defeated Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen 7-5, 6-4 on Friday to reach their fifth tour-level final since pairing for the first time together in March.

The third-seeded Brazilian-Spanish duo lifted their first ATP Tour hard-court trophy in Sofia last week. Matos and Vega Hernadez's opponent’s in Sunday’s championship match will be Mackenzie McDonald and Marcelo Melo. The unseeded McDonald and Melo advanced to the final after a left knee issue for Nick Kyrgios forced the Australian and his partner Thanasi Kokkinakis to withdraw.