© Ella Ling/ATP Tour

Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo beat Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic despite losing five more points in the match.

Kubot/Melo End London Campaign & Partnership With A Win

Eighth seeds finish Group Mike Bryan with 1-2 record

Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo finished their 2020 ATP Tour season and four-year partnership with an impressive victory on Thursday, as they ended Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic’s unbeaten start to the Nitto ATP Finals.

The 2017 finalists saved three of four break points to defeat Koolhof and Mektic 6-4, 6-7(2), 10-8 in one hour and 44 minutes. Kubot and Melo were eliminated from semi-final contention on Tuesday, but they raised their games to earn 200 FedEx ATP Doubles Team Rankings points. The eighth seeds finished their fourth straight team appearance at The O2 with a 1-2 round-robin record.

After the match, both Kubot and Melo were emotional. Melo confirmed it was their last match as a tandem on Instagram, writing: "Thanks Kubi! We had many good emotions during our partnership, today was not different. We end our team but we keep friends forever!"

"Here of course is a very special tournament. Of course the [Nitto ATP] Finals, we do everything to be here. [It represents] achievement in life, achievement as a team, and I'm glad I could be here many times," Melo said in an interview. "For us to be at a place that has the best eight singles players and best eight doubles players is very special. Today was another one. It was very special. Unfortunately we did not qualify [for the semi-finals], but we finished with a win."

Kubot and Melo end the season with a 21-13 team record. The Polish-Brazilian tandem claimed two ATP 500 titles this year in Acapulco and Vienna. They lifted 14 tour-level trophies during their partnership, including at 2017 Wimbledon and at four ATP Masters 1000 events.

"We knew this was the last tournament. We were not sure to qualify [for the Nitto ATP Finals], so we did everything to qualify. This tournament didn't go the way we wanted to, but every day we stepped on the court we gave 100 per cent and today was a day we just wanted to finish and play until the end, finish with a win for our Kubot-Melo team," Kubot said. "We are very happy and pleased that this is here in London, because we have one of the best memories here from winning Wimbledon."

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After failing to convert three break points in their opening return game, Koolhof and Mektic were punished for narrowly missing the mark on their returns. Kubot and Melo extracted four volley errors from their opponents to break serve at 2-2 and served with confidence to claim the first set with a love service hold at 5-4.

Koolhof and Mektic did not make the same mistake in the second set. Koolhof played with aggression from the baseline to get the better of Kubot at the net and earn a 4-2 lead. The pair failed to serve out the set at 5-3, but Mektic found success on his return in the second-set tie-break to extend the match.

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In the Match Tie-break, Melo returned well and showed incredible reaction skills to earn his team a crucial advantage. The eighth seeds converted their second match point when Kubot fired a low forehand return.

Koolhof and Mektic will look to return to winning ways when they face the second-placed team in Group Bob Bryan on Saturday. The fifth seeds won Group Mike Bryan on Tuesday with a straight-sets victory against Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury.