© Ben Solomon/@CincyTennis

Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos become the first team since Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan in 2003 to triumph in Cincinnati without dropping a set.

Granollers/Zeballos Clinch Cincinnati Doubles Title

The second seeds now hold a 4-0 record in ATP Masters 1000 finals

Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos earned their first Western & Southern Open title Sunday when they defeated Steve Johnson and Austin Krajicek 7-6(5), 7-6(5) to lift their fourth ATP Masters 1000 trophy as a team.

The second seeds were made to battle against the Americans, saving a set point at 5-6 in the opener and rallying from 1/4 in the first-set tie-break as they secured their victory in one hour and 54 minutes.

“We are really happy,” Granollers said in his on-court interview. “To win two Masters 1000 titles this year is amazing and shows we are playing really well. I lost one final here, so to win with Zeballos is really nice. I think we are improving as a team every day.”

The Spanish-Argentine tandem, who won 77 per cent (54/64) of their first-serve points on Sunday, captured the Mutua Madrid Open crown in May and now hold a 4-0 record in Masters 1000 finals, also triumphing in Montreal in 2019 and Rome in 2020. Granollers and Zeballos are the first team since Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan in 2003 to win the Cincinnati title without dropping a set.

”We played good matches all week against really good doubles players and good singles players, so it is an amazing feeling right now,” Zeballos added. “We said before the final, even if we didn’t win, we would still feel great because we are playing the best.”

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This year, Granollers and Zeballos have also reached finals at Acapulco in March and Wimbledon in July. They have now claimed six tour-level titles since first teaming in 2019.

In a high-quality first set, both teams were strong on serve with Granollers and Zeballos saving the three break points they faced, while Johnson and Krajicek fended off one themselves as they moved to a tie-break. After falling 1/4 behind in the tie-break, the second seeds raised their level and sealed the set when Johnson pushed a forehand long.

Fuelled by momentum, Granollers and Zeballos then raced into a 2-0 lead in the second set, only to be pegged back immediately at 2-2. Johnson and Krajicek struck the ball with great power from the baseline, while Granollers and Zeballos closed the net well throughout as both teams continued to hold to force another tie-break. Granollers and Zeballos once again stepped up in the crucial moments to secure their victory on their second championship point.

Wild cards Johnson and Krajicek upset third seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in the semi-finals and were teaming for the first time this year. The Americans, who were competing in their first Masters 1000 doubles final, last played together in 2020 at the Western & Southern Open when it was held in New York, reaching the semi-finals.