Defending Champions Kontinen/Peers Qualify For Nitto ATP Finals

Finnish/Australian duo joins Kubot/Melo in elite field

Henri Kontinen and John Peers will return to defend their title this November at The O2 after becoming the second team to qualify for the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals. They clinched their place in the elite eight-team field by reaching the US Open quarter-finals Monday with victory over Juan Sebastian Cabal and Leonardo Mayer.

“It’s awesome to be back. I had a great experience last year. Played there for the first time and got the win right away,” said Kontinen. “It was a great event for us and obviously had a great start to the year and knew we had a good shot making it there again, and it’s one of the goals for the year. Happy to do it already at this point of the season.”

The Finnish-Australian duo kicked off their 2017 campaign with the Australian Open crown (d. Bryans) and last month won the ATP World Tour 500 title at the Citi Open, where they defeated Emirates ATP Doubles Race to London leaders Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo. Kubot and Melo had become the first team to qualify for the season-ending tournament following their triumph at Wimbledon.

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Kontinen and Peers made an impressive finish to 2016, capping their debut season on a 10-match winning streak. After claiming their first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title at the Rolex Paris Masters, they went undefeated en route to the season finale title (d. Klaasen/Ram).

“It’s definitely great to be back,” said Peers. “Each year we all aim to make the [Nitto] ATP Finals at the end of the year. For Henri and I to make it a second time around is really good, especially capping off the way we finished off last year, so it’s going to be really nice and we’re both excited to get back.

“We started the year off hot, winning in Australia, and now we’re starting to build and enjoy the rest of the year we have coming up ahead. It’s really nice to know we’ve got London cemented already this time of year. Last year we had to wait until Paris to clinch that last, little spot, so it’s going to be good and hopefully we’ll keep building and it’s exciting to be able to finish the year off in London.”

The 27-year-old Kontinen, who ascended to the No. 1 Emirates ATP Doubles Ranking in April, will be making his second appearance at The O2. Peers, 29, will be making his third; he first qualified in 2015 with Jamie Murray.