Lopez/Lopez Surge To First Masters 1000 Final
Watch Sunday's doubles final live at tennistv.com
Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez advanced to their first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 team doubles final on Saturday at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters and will face Rohan Bopanna and Pablo Cuevas for the title.
The Spaniards reached their fourth title match (2-1 overall) after they defeated second-seeded French duo and defending champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut 6-1, 7-6(4) in 78 minutes. Rafael Nadal and Tommy Robredo were the last Spanish team to capture the prestigious title in 2008, when they defeated Mahesh Bhupathi and Mark Knowles 6-3, 6-3 in the final. Bopanna and Cuevas advanced to Sunday's final after ending the hopes of wild cards Romain Arneodo and Hugo Nys 6-4, 6-3, and will bid to clinch their first ATP World Tour team title.
Feliciano Lopez has a 3-9 record in doubles finals, while Marc Lopez is 13-16 lifetime (3-3 in ATP World Tour Masters 1000 finals). The pair clinched the Roland Garros title (d. Bryan-Bryan) in June 2016.
Bopanna, 37, will now look to boost his 3-3 record in ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title matches with his 16th crown overall (15-23), while 31-year-old Cuevas will bid to add to his 2015 Internazionali BNL d’Italia trophy (w/Marrero) in Rome and improve upon his 6-7 mark in team finals.
Lopez and Lopez secured their first break on a deciding deuce point on Mahut’s serve at 1-1, when Herbert struck a volley into the net. The Spaniards' power helped them to break Herbert to love for a 4-1 lead, and they converted their second set point chance when Marc Lopez forced a Mahut backhand volley error to clinch the 23-minute opener.
Feliciano Lopez recovered from 0/30 to win the first game of the second set and the Spaniards went on to break Herbert for a 3-1 lead, when Herbert hit a backhand volley into the net at 30/40. Once Lopez and Lopez led 4-1, the French duo sparked into life with clever team play and Herbert, particularly, finding his range on the forehand. They clinched Feliciano Lopez’s serve to 30 for 4-5, when an aggressive Herbert struck a backhand volley winner.
Team Lopez gained a 3/1 lead in the tie-break, but were quickly pinned back. When Mahut served at 4/5, Marc Lopez struck a forehand return down the line that Herbert mis-timed on the volley. Herbert then committed another volley error on match point and team Lopez improved to a 6-6 record on the season.
Last week, Marc Lopez reached the Grand Prix Hassan II doubles final with another Spaniard Marcel Granollers, losing to Dominic Inglot and Mate Pavic 6-4, 2-6, 11-9.
The second doubles semi-final of the day was watched by His Serene Highness Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco. Bopanna secured the first service break for a 4-3 lead, on a deciding deuce point on Arneodo’s serve, with a forehand that the wild card team could not return into court. At 5-4, Bopanna then closed out the 31-minute set to 30 when Arneodo returned into the net.
At 2-2 in the second set, some quick hands at the net by Arneodo helped Nys from 0/30 to 40/30, but Cuevas and Bopanna – with a powerful forehand – combined to win a deciding deuce point to break serve. The extra groundstroke firepower of Bopanna and Cuevas made the difference as they wrapped up victory by breaking Arneodo again, when Cuevas hit a forehand return that Arneodo volleyed into the net.