Dodig/Polasek Victory Sets Up Decisive Clash With Top Seeds
Croatian-Slovenian pairing will face Mektic and Pavic for semi-final spot
Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek will face Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic for a place in the semi-finals of the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin after beating Kevin Krawietz and Horia Tecau 7-6(2), 7-5 Tuesday to improve to 1-1 at the season finale.
Victory for Dodig and Polasek means that Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos, who saved four match points to defeat Dodig and Polasek on Sunday, have qualified for the semi-finals. Dodig and Polasek remain in contention for the second semi-final spot in the Green Group and will face top seeds Mektic and Pavic on Thursday. The winning team will join Granollers and Zeballos in the elimination stages.
A lack of recent match practice impacted Dodig and Polasek, who had not played together since losing in the second round of Wimbledon, in their tight match against Granollers and Zeballos. But the Australian Open champions proved steelier when it came to closing out Krawietz and Tecau in a clash that only saw one break of serve.
Dodig and Polasek were unable to convert three break points on the Krawietz/Tecau serve in the first set, including two that doubled as set points at 5-6, but dominated the tie-break to lead 7-6(2). The Croatian-Slovenian pairing, who are making their second appearance at the Nitto ATP Finals as a team, had to save break points themselves early in the second set.
Neither team was able to take advantage of opportunities offered until the 10th game of the second set. By that point, the teams were a combined 0-7 on break points, but Dodig and Polasek finally broke through when Polasek hit a searing forehand return winner off Tecau’s second serve before serving the match out to love.
Krawietz and Tecau will face Granollers and Zeballos on Thursday in what will be Tecau’s final ATP Tour match. The veteran Romanian, who has ended 11 straight seasons in the Top 30, has expressed his intention to retire after the Nitto ATP Finals.