Goffin/Herbert Win First Team Title In Doha
The last time David Goffin and Pierre-Hugues Herbert made the finals in a doubles tournament together was in the juniors 11 years ago. But in their second professional tournament as a team, the friends triumphed in Doha. Goffin and Herbert beat Robin Haase and Matwe Middelkoop 5-7, 6-4, 10-4 to win the Qatar ExxonMobil Open.
Goffin and Herbert were close to not even making the final, needing to save three match points against Novak Djokovic and Marko Djokovic in Thursday evening’s semi-final. But the Belgian-French duo summoned their best tennis at the most crucial moments of the events, lifting the trophy against the Dutchmen after one hour and 23 minutes.
"It's a little bit like a dream come true. To win four matches in the same week, it is something unusual," Goffin joked. "But thanks to Pierre-Hugues for the week. He helped me a lot this week to win the title. It is really something special this week."
While Herbert is an accomplished doubles player, qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals for the past four seasons, Goffin sits at No. 354 in the ATP Doubles Rankings, and he had only won seven tour-level doubles matches (7-20) before this week. But that didn’t stop the good friends from clinching the first ATP Tour title of the season. It is Herbert’s 14th victory, 12 of those coming with compatriot Nicolas Mahut.
"It's for sure something special. We played our last final in 2008 juniors in Brazil," Herbert said. "We were lucky enough to play again a final here and to share it with a friend, it's always something special."
Goffin and Herbert were the flashier team throughout the final, with Goffin consistently returning well against Haase and Middelkoop, who were previously 3-0 in ATP Tour finals together. It seemed that regardless of where the Dutchmen served, Goffin was right on the return, placing it at will.
And while the champions let slip a 4-1 lead in the first set, they did not do so in the second set or the Match Tie-break. Herbert took over many points with his movement and overall play at the net. And after the Frenchman hit a second serve to Haase’s forehand, eliciting a return well past the baseline, the winners embraced. They earn 250 ATP Doubles Ranking points and a share of $74,720.
While Haase and Middelkoop fell short, it was still a strong week for the team that finished 17th in the 2018 ATP Doubles Race To London. The Dutchmen add 150 points to their tally and split $38,070.
“It was a good week. We could have lost in the first match already. We were behind in the Match Tie-break and we managed to win. From there, we managed to play really well,” Haase said. “We were really close again to win it at 4-3, 30/40. We had our chances, we didn’t take them. And then you see in tennis if you don’t take your chances, the other guys are just too good and they will take them.”