© Thomas Lovelock/ATP World Tour

Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert celebrate an opening victory at the Nitto ATP Finals.

Herbert/Mahut Save 1 MP To Open London Bid

Frenchmen mount thrilling comeback to open round robin play

The O2 has not been the best venue for Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert the last two seasons, with the Frenchmen holding a 1-5 record in their first two Nitto ATP Finals appearances.

But Herbert and Mahut got off to a good start in their third season finale, saving one match point to defeat Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau, 1-6, 7-6(7), 10-8.

Double faults proved costly for the Dutch-Romanian pairing, who looked the stronger duo for much of the match. At 7/7 in the second-set tie-break, Tecau hit a double fault to allow Herbert to serve out the set, which he did when Mahut put away a sitting return with a backhand volley.

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In the Match Tie-break, Rojer double-faulted at 8/8, a crucial mistake that the Frenchmen would not return, sealing their second win in seven tries at The O2 and joining eighth seeds Ryan Harrison and Michael Venus as winners in Group Eltingh/Haarhuis.

The loss will sting for Rojer and Tecau, who held a match point on Mahut’s serve at 6/5 in the second-set tie-break. The ATP World Tour veteran hit a booming first serve down the middle that Tecau couldn’t put much pace on, allowing Herbert to put away a backhand volley.

Two years ago, Rojer and Tecau defeated Herbert and Mahut in round-robin play at the Nitto ATP Finals. Later in the week, they won the title.

But on Sunday, it was the Frenchmen who came out victorious, evening their FedEx ATP Head2Head series against the Dutch-Romanian team at 2-2. This was their first meeting in 2017.

Herbert and Mahut have had a tremendous season, tying the tour lead with three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles (Rome, Montreal and Cincinnati), claiming three of the elite-level trophies for the second year in a row.

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