Lucky Losers Herbert/Przysiezny Win Tokyo Doubles Title
Unlikely champions secure doubles crown in Tokyo.
First-time pairing Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Michal Przysiezny completed a dream week in Tokyo on Sunday by lifting the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships doubles trophy.
The lucky losers, who replaced Gilles Simon and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the ATP World Tour 500 tournament draw, defeated second seeds Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo 6-3, 6-7(3), 10-5 in the final at the Ariake Colosseum, which lasted 86 minutes.
Hugues and Przysiezny split $87,700 in prize money and 500 Emirates ATP Rankings points by winning their first ATP World Tour title. They had defeated the World No. 1 team, Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, 4-6, 6-3, 10-4 in the first round.
"It is amazing for us," Przysiezny told ATPWorldTour.com. "We didn't expect to play in the main draw, as we lost in the qualifying. We tried to have fun. In the [three] Match tie-breaks this week, we tried to enjoy them, as we knew we weren’t the favourites."
Herbert told ATPWorldTour.com, "If you want to play well, you have to enjoy it. It's been an incredible week. I knew we had the potential to play well, as we are good servers and have a lot of shots. We had fun and it went like a fairytale."
Przysiezny withstood two break points on his serve at 1-2, 30/40 and at deciding point deuce. From that moment on the French-Polish pair grew in confidence, breaking Melo to 30 for a 4-3 lead. At 3-5, Dodig lost a deciding deuce point to end the 28-minute first set.
Herbert and Przysiezny had converted their two break point opportunities and won 11 of their 12 first service points. By comparison, Dodig and Melo had won 13 of 16.
Chances were few in the second set. Melo got out of trouble at 1-2, when he saved two break points for a big hold. In the tie-break, at 2/2, Herbert’s enthusiasm for the kill got the better of him, as he crossed to snatch a backhand return from Przysiezny’s racquet. It left Dodig an open court to punch his volley. Dodig and Melo went on to clinch the set, winning 20 of their 21 first service points.
Dodig, MeloIn the Match tie-break, Herbert and Przysiezny opened up a 4/1 lead but were clawed back to 5/5. Melo, once again, came under pressure on his serve as Herbert and Przysiezny each hit groundstroke winners to take an 8-5 lead. Herbert sealed the victory with a forehand volley winner.
Dodig and Melo hit seven aces and won 82 per cent of their first service points. The Croatian-Brazilian tandem dropped to a 1-5 record in tour-level team finals (0-3 in 2014).
They are attempting to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 9-16 November. They are currently No. 8 in the Emirates ATP Doubles Team Rankings.
Dodig and Melo now travel to China for the Shanghai Rolex Masters with $39,500 in their pockets and 300 points.