Herbert/Mahut Claim Second Nitto ATP Finals Crown
The third seeds avenged their Red Group loss to second-seeded American Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury of Great Britain earlier this week with a 6-4, 7-6(0) final victory in one hour and 32 minutes at the Pala Alpitour in Turin.
“It is an amazing feeling winning here for a second time,” said Mahut. “We lost to them in the round robin, when they played amazing, and today we knew we had to play our best level. I think we played out best match of the week. Finishing the season like this is a great achievement.”
Herbert said: “They were playing really well on our break points, but we were pushing hard the whole match. We went to the tie-break and for sure there was a bit of stress, but Nico de-stressed me with a great return on the first point. Nico is playing better and better with age.”
Herbert and Mahut earned the 20th team title of their careers, adding to the 2019 season finale trophy they lifted over Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus, when the prestigious event was played at The O2 in London. The pair also captured two other crowns in 2021 at Roland Garros (d. Bublik/Golubev) and the cinch Championships in London (d. Opelka/Peers).
Photo: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour
Mahut created the first break of the match with a superb return down the line that caught Ram off guard. Herbert subsequently sealed the 2-1 advantage in the first set with a forehand winner down the middle. The Frenchmen remained solid overhead and could have taken a 4-1 lead with a break of Ram’s serve, only for the 37-year-old American to recover four straight points. Herbert and Mahut did not lost a point on first serve (20/25 service points won overall) in the 38-minute set.
Ram and Salisbury held their nerve under mounting pressure at 2-2 and 3-3 in the second set, with both players saving deciding Deuce points in their service games. In contrast, their opponents did not face a break point and raised their return games to dominate the tie-break.
Herbert, 30, and 39-year-old Mahut are the first team to reach three Nitto ATP Finals championship matches in a four-year span since Indians Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes lost title matches in 1997, 1999 and 2000. The French team is now 34-12 in 2021.
Ram and Salisbury saved two match points to beat Herbert and Mahut 6-7(7), 6-0, 13-11 in the round-robin stage on Wednesday in Turin. The American-British tandem end their season with a 44-17 match record, having won title titles at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers in Toronto (d. Mektic/Pavic) and the US Open (d. Murray/Soares).