Herbert/Mahut Dazzle To Reach Third Year-End Final
French pairing to face Ram/Salisbury in Nitto ATP Finals title match
Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert defeated Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos 6-3, 6-4 in the semi-finals of the Nitto ATP Finals on Sunday to charge into their third championship match at the season finale.
The doubles final in Turin will be contested between the French pairing, who are looking for their second title at the season finale, and Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury, who defeated World No. 1 team Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic in the first semi-final.
There are few doubles pairings more experienced at the Nitto ATP Finals than Herbert and Mahut, who have played six of the past seven years, made the semi-finals on their past three appearances and did not drop a set en route to the title in 2019.
The French pairing had their winning streak snapped by Ram and Salisbury during the group stages, but did not drop a set in their other round-robin matches. Granollers and Zeballos had saved four match points earlier in the tournament and brought a 2-0 record in the ATP Head2Head into the semi-final clash, but found themselves comprehensively outplayed throughout the 76-minute match.
Herbert and Mahut made a scintillating start: Mahut hit an incredible return to break Zeballos in the Argentine’s first service game of the match. By the time the French pairing had raced to 3-0, they had won 13 of the first 15 points and Zeballos’ racquet had hit the court. Herbert and Mahut went on to close out the set 6-3 in 33 minutes without having faced a break point.
They would not face one in the second set, either. Mahut continued to shine, hitting a jaw-dropping return winner to earn break point as Granollers served to open the second set. He even hurdled the net at one point while chasing down a drop shot.
The Spanish-Argentine pairing managed to hold to open the second set, but were under consistent pressure on serve and were broken to love in the eighth game.
The only hint of a change in momentum came when Herbert was serving for the match, when he went down 0-30 before finding a crucial ace. Mahut backed him up with an impressive volley and the pair closed out the win to reach their third final at the Nitto ATP Finals.
Sunday’s final will be a rematch of the round-robin clash between Herbert/Mahut and Ram/Salisbury, which took place on Tuesday. Ram and Salisbury narrowly won 6-7(7), 6-0, 13-11.