After Five-Year Layoff, Polasek Partners Dodig Into Cincinnati Final
Fourteen months ago, Filip Polasek had not played a professional match in nearly five years. Now the Slovak is into his first ATP Masters 1000 final. Polasek and his partner, Croat Ivan Dodig, defeated Brits Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski 6-1, 6-4 on Saturday to reach the Western & Southern Open’s championship match.
Dodig and Polasek broke serve four times from 13 opportunities, and they saved two of the three break points to reach their second ATP Tour final of the year as a pair (also Antalya). On Sunday, they will face top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, who earlier in the week became the first team to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals.
This is just the fourth tournament that Dodig and Polasek have played in as a team. But they have won three of their four matches in straight sets, including a second-round upset of Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan. The unseeded duo battled past second seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo in the quarter-finals.
Against Murray and Skupski, they set the tone of the match by earning nine break points in the first set, and dropping just two of their own service points in the opener. They struck six aces en route to their 66-minute victory.
Dodig is pursuing his fifth trophy at this level, with his four previous triumphs coming with Marcelo Melo, including in Cincinnati in 2016. This is Polasek’s 28th ATP Tour final, and he will try to claim his maiden Masters 1000 crown.
Cabal and Farah lost the same number of games in dismissing sixth seeds Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares 6-3, 6-2 after 57 minutes. The top seeds, did not face a break point, winning 84 per cent of their service points compared to 61 per cent for the Croatian-Brazilian duo.
Both of the teams in the final put together tremendous performances at Wimbledon. Cabal and Farah lifted their first Grand Slam trophy, while Dodig and Polasek advanced to the semi-finals in just their second tournament as a team.
Cabal and Farah most recently played Dodig at the 2018 US Open, defeating the Croat and Spaniard Marcel Granollers, while they have not faced Polasek since 2012 Munich, falling against the Slovak and Frantisek Cermak.