New Zealanders Daniell/Sitak Take Stuttgart Doubles Title
Kiwis claim their second team title and first on grass
New Zealanders Marcus Daniell and Artem Sitak won their second ATP World Tour team title on Sunday, beating Oliver Marach and Fabrice Martin 6-7(4), 6-4, 10-8 in the MercedesCup doubles final in Stuttgart. It was the team's first title in Stuttgart but Sitak's second. He won the doubles title in 2014 with Mateusz Kowalczyk when the tournament was still played on clay.
"It's an awesome feeling, especially winning it on grass courts," Sitak said. "I said I was going to be back, and now I'm back and won it again. Stuttgart is my home, I guess!"
Neither team lost their serve in the first set on Sunday, as Daniell/Sitak erased two break points. Marach/Martin broke through in the tie-break, gaining a mini-break at 4/4 and winning the next two points to serve out the set.
The Austrian and Frenchman rode their momentum to start the second, earning a break and sprinting to a 3-0 lead. But the Kiwis bounced back, reeling off six of the next seven games to tie the match. They led 3/1 in the match tie-break before rain delayed the contest for about three-and-a-half hours.
"It's not easy when you go on court, go off court. You gotta stay focused on the match. And at the same time, you have to relax a little bit, not be totally tight," Sitak said.
When play continued, the Kiwis picked up where they left off. They jumped to a 6-1 lead and won their second match point to hold onto the win. "We started really well, and then they came up with some big shots to get it back to seven-all," Sitak said. "We managed to seal the deal, which is a relief."
Daniell/Sitak, who won their first tour-level title last year at Montpellier, are now 2-0 in tour-level finals. They will receive 250 Emirates ATP Doubles Ranking points and split €32,800. "It's incredible," Daniell said. "I'd actually never played a tour-event on grass before so to come out and play against some high-quality teams and come away with the title, it's pretty amazing."
Marach/Martin were going for their third tour-level title of the season (Chennai, Delray Beach). They will receive 150 Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings points and split €17,230.