Mahut/Herbert Top Group In London

Frenchman complete clean sweep in round-robin play on Friday

Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut secured top position in Group Max Mirnyi at the Nitto ATP Finals on Friday, beating Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau 6-3, 7-6(4).

The Frenchmen won 92 per cent of first-serve points (36/39) and saved the only break point they faced to end Rojer and Tecau’s hopes of a semi-final spot after 83 minutes. Rojer and Tecau needed to win a set to join the seventh seeds in the final four.

Herbert and Mahut are the only team yet to be beaten at this year’s event and currently own a seven-match winning streak, following their triumph at the Rolex Paris Masters earlier this month. In that period, the 2018 finalists have claimed each of the 14 sets they have contested.

“We are feeling quite good on court. We played a really high-level match again today. We are happy to play like that and now we are qualified for the semi-finals,” said Herbert. “We have a big test and a big match in the semis against Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo. They beat us three weeks ago, so it is a good challenge and we are going to try to take our revenge.”

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As a result of Herbert and Mahut's straight-sets win, year-end No. 1 doubles team Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah will join Herbert and Mahut in the semi-finals. The Colombian duo picked up their first win at this year’s event in the afternoon session, beating Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies 7-6(7), 6-2.

“Maybe if we play against them in the final, they will remember that... [The result] is good for them, it is good for Colombia and it is good for us,” said Mahut.

Herbert and Mahut captured the only break of the match in the third game, with Mahut clinching the break with a pinpoint forehand lob. The Frenchmen closed out the set after 35 minutes, after Rojer missed a forehand volley on the deciding point at 5-3.

With neither team able to break serve in the second set, Herbert and Mahut recovered from an early mini-break down to complete the win. A forehand winner from Mahut and a backhand volley from Herbert earned the seventh seeds a 5/4 advantage and Mahut fired a powerful first serve to claim victory.