© Peter Staples/ATP Tour

Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut win their first match in Group Max Mirnyi at the Nitto ATP Finals.

Herbert/Mahut Upset Cabal/Farah In Group Max Mirnyi

Last year's finalist start strongly

Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut moved closer to completing their historic doubles season with a maiden crown at the Nitto ATP Finals. The French pair ousted top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 6-3, 7-5 on Monday in Group Max Mirnyi.

“It was a great match for us,” said Herbert. “It was a high-level match from both sides and we knew we needed to be good against the No. 1 team. We’re so happy with the level we played. To come through this first match is something special for us.”

Herbert/Mahut improved to 5-1 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with Cabal/Farah. Last year’s finalists (l. to M. Bryan/Sock) became the eighth men’s doubles team to complete the career Grand Slam by prevailing in January at the Australian Open (d. Kontinen/Peers). They arrived in London on a high after prevailing two weeks ago on home soil at the Rolex Paris Masters (d. Khachanov/Rublev).

“I remember well how they won Wimbledon, as I was on the other side of the court [with Edouard Roger-Vasselin]," Mahut said. "Today we made the best start at the [Nitto] ATP Finals in our five appearances here. We’re really happy to have won today and will keep trying to win.”

Cabal/Farah started off strongly by breaking Herbert’s serve in the opening game, but Herbert/Mahut leveled the score three games later with a gorgeous topspin lob winner from Mahut on Cabal’s serve. Herbert’s aggressive volleying helped the French pair break Cabal’s serve for a 4-2 lead and they rode the slight advantage to an early lead.

The Colombian pair refused to bow out quietly, though. Cabal/Farah let out a roar of delight after breaking Herbert/Mahut for a 3-1 lead in the second set, but a double fault from Farah in the next game gifted the break right back. Both teams remained even until Mahut sprung to life at 5-5 with a forehand volley winner to break Cabal. A smash winner from Herbert in the next game wrapped up play after one hour and 21 minutes. Herbert/Mahut won 75 per cent of their first-serve points and converted four of 15 break points.

Watch Live