Struff Bounces Back From Tokyo Singles Heartbreak In Doubles With McLachlan
Marach and Pavic save two match points in Beijing quarter-finals
Jan-Lennard Struff suffered a devastating defeat in singles on Friday, failing to convert match point before ultimately losing to #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov. But the German kept his head up on the doubles court later in the day and he was rewarded.
Struff and Ben McLachlan, half of last year’s winning team (w/ Uchiyama) in Tokyo, beat Dutchmen Robin Haase and Matwe Middelkoop 6-1, 6-4 to reach the final of the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships 2018.
“I’m very happy. We played a great match. It was very tough after losing the singles today,” Struff said. “I’m very happy that we played decent and with energy from the beginning, and now really looking forward to the final.”
It is the pair’s fifth tour-level semi-final of the season as a pair, including a trip to the last four at the Australian Open and in Miami. McLachlan and Struff also reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals.
“I’m pretty happy that we got into the final. It’s been a good week so far,” Struff said. “Let’s see what the final brings. It will be a new match and we will give everything to win the title.”
On paper, it appeared the semi-final would be a nail-biter. Haase and Middelkoop have won three ATP World Tour titles in Pune, Sofia and Umag this year. But the winners saved all four break points they faced to come out victorious.
“We played really well. They’re a very tough team,” McLachlan said. “I’ve played Robin a couple of times and played with Matwe before, they’re both tough players, so really happy to get through that in straight sets.”
In the final, McLachlan and Struff will face No. 3 seeds Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus or Joe Salisbury and Yasutaka Uchiyama. Salisbury triumphed with McLachlan in Shenzhen last week and McLachlan partnered Uchiyama to the title in Tokyo last year.
“For me, it doesn’t really matter who we play,” Struff said. “We’ll try to win.”
At the China Open in Beijing, top seeds Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic saved two match points to edge past Marcus Daniell and Wesley Koolhof 5-7, 7-6(4), 14-12 in just under two hours. Marach and Pavic, who have already qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals at London in November, saved match points at 9/10 and 12/11 in the Match tie-break.