Lopez/Lopez Surge To First Masters 1000 Final

Spaniards knock out defending champions

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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.

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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.