Bolelli/Fognini Capture Australian Open Doubles Crown
The Italian duo, playing their ninth major together, defeated all-French team Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut 6-4, 6-4 in the final.
“To do this with Fabio is unbelievable,” said Bolelli. “I think we did something amazing. Now I think we're thinking about the [Barclays] ATP [World Tour] Finals is one of our goals.”
“Everything is in our hands now,” added Fognini. “For sure we are going to celebrate.”
They are the first all-Italian pairing to win a Grand Slam doubles title since Nicola Pietrangeli and Orlando Sirola lifted the 1959 Roland Garros crown.
Bolelli and Fognini’s triumph at the Australian Open marks their third trophy, including the 2011 Umag (d. Cilic-Zovko) and 2013 Buenos Aires (Monroe-Stadler).
“All the credit to the Italians who played really good,” said Herbert. “We had an unbelievable team against us and they played a really good match.”
Herbert was broken twice in the 41-minute opener, which was decided on the team that served better. Bolelli and Fognini lost seven of their first service points and committed five fewer unforced errors, while the French team were left to rue only capitalising on one of their five break point chances.
The Italians once again put Herbert under pressure on serve early in the second set. At 1-1, Herbert saved two break points from 15/40 in a confidence-boosting hold. At 5-4, Fognini took his chance lashing a forehand return to Mahut's feet, when he served at 30/40. Bolelli calmly sealed the biggest victory of their careers.
After the match, Herbert admitted, “Twenty minutes before the match I felt a big pain. I had a problem. I don't know if it's because was a final or if it was because [of] anything [else]. But after this I took some medicine because I couldn't almost run or anything. I was really in pain... I felt dizzy the whole match. I had the feeling it was maybe the worst minutes of my tennis career because I wanted to do everything for my partner, for everybody who was expecting something.”
Herbert and Mahut, who hit 23 winners, had been bidding to become the first French pairing to win the Australian Open title here since Michael Llodra and Fabrice Santoro in 2004. Prior to the championships, the pair had never before won a tour-level match.