Read & Watch: Flawless Melo/Kubot Lift Shanghai Doubles Trophy
Polish/Brazilian team earn fourth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown
Third seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo continued their run of form on Sunday by winning the Rolex Shanghai Masters doubles title with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over sixth seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares in 65 minutes. It was their fourth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown (4-2 overall), and their first at the tournament level since November 2017 at the Rolex Paris Masters (d. Dodig/Granollers).
Kubot and Melo lost just four of their first-service points (26/30) against Murray and Soares and have now won 11 tour-level doubles titles (11-5 in finals). The Polish-Brazilian duo captured the China Open crown (d. Marach/Pavic) last week, among two other team trophies this year at the Sydney International (d. Struff/Troicki) and the Gerry Weber Open (d. Zverev/Zverev).
Both teams had already qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 11-18 November. Kubot and Melo qualified by reaching the Shanghai final on Saturday, while Murray and Soares booked their places by advancing to the semi-finals on Thursday. Buy Your London Tickets
Kubot and Melo, who lost the 2017 final to Henri Kontinen and John Peers, leave Shanghai with 1,000 ATP Doubles Rankings points and $421,340 in prize money. Murray and Soares collected 600 points and $206,280. The 36-year-old Kubot is now 24-15 in doubles finals, while Melo picked up his third Shanghai trophy — following on from success in 2013 (w/Dodig) and 2015 (w/Klaasen). Overall, the 35-year-old Melo is 32-24 in team finals.
“We’re next going to be in Vienna,” said Melo. “Then Paris, and we have qualified for the [Nitto ATP] Finals in London. We are very, very happy with the way we are playing now.
“This is the best part of the year for us to play. I have won here three times. Last year we reached the final. Every year, we look forward to coming here to play in Shanghai, and I hope I keep doing this for many, many more years.”
Kubot set up the first break point on Soares serve, when he adjusted well, but mis-timed a backhand winner down the line for 0/40. Two points later, following aggressive play by Soares, the Brazilian struck a double fault to give Kubot and Melo a 2-1 lead. There were no further chances to break and Melo coolly closed 33-minute set with a hold to 15. Kubot and Melo had lost just three service points (20/23) and it was the first set this week that Murray and Soares had lost.
Soares came under pressure once again in the third game of the second set, when Murray over-hit a backhand reaction volley, but Soares did well to save two break points with powerful serves. Kubot’s power from the baseline reaped dividends by testing Murray’s reactions for a 2-1 advantage. Two games later, Kubot ripped a crosscourt backhand return past Murray, on approach to the net, to gain a 4-1 lead.“Today's performance was very good,” said Melo. “I think we played better and better since the first match. Today, we knew we had to put together everything to beat them. They are very good team.”
Kubot added, “I'm very happy that we won the last point here, and I could do the CanCan dance.”
Murray and Soares had beaten Kubot and Melo in the Western & Southern Open quarter-finals 7-5, 6-7(6), 10-6 in August. After victory in the Shanghai final, Melo and Soares now leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head 4-3.
Murray and Soares, winners of nine titles as a team, dropped to a 37-16 record on the season. The duo won their first Masters 1000 crown in Cincinnati, in addition to two 500-level trophies in 2018 at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC (d. Bryan/Bryan) and the Citi Open in Washington D.C. (d. M. Bryan/Roger-Vasselin).