Murray/Soares Battle For First Washington Title
Mike Bryan and Edouard Roger-Vasselin appeared on their way to a title in their first tournament as a team, breaking twice in an impressive opening set. But fourth seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares found their groove to defeat the American-French duo 3-6, 6-3, 10-4 on Sunday and lift the Citi Open title.
It is Murray and Soares’ eighth tour-level victory together, and second of the season, after also triumphing in Acapulco. Neither player had previously won in Washington, D.C. with Soares reaching the final in 2008 with Kevin Ullyett.
Murray now owns 21 tour-level doubles trophies and Soares has 28. They are 26-12 in 2018, and are solidly in seventh position in the ATP Doubles Race For London with 2,890 points, which will trail sixth-placed Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus by just 15 points on Monday.
"It feels great to lift a trophy," said Murray. "A great week for us obviously. We played a lot of great tennis with some challenging moments. Especially after losing the first set here in the final, but we played better today on returns and made some important balls. Our first serve percentage went up and we kept fighting. We worked hard to turn things around and I'm happy we kept the momentum in the Match Tie-break to get through. It gives us a lot of confidence going into the two Masters 1000 events coming up."
Early on, it looked like Murray and Soares were in trouble against the No. 1 player in the ATP Doubles Rankings, Bryan and Roger-Vasselin. The first-time pairing showed the level that helped them to the final, attacking down the line in return games to keep the net man honest, before using that to dominate at net themselves.
But in the second set, Murray and Soares began to mix it up with various lobs and angles to play the match on their terms. And it was only fitting that on match point, Soares hit a perfect forehand lob to clinch the victory after 71 minutes. They earn 500 ATP Doubles Rankings points and will split $115,650.
"It's been a tough week for us and we won three Match Tie-breaks," Soares added. "It's a huge difference with this format. We played a great grass-court season and it's nice to pick up where we left off. Now, there are a lot of big events coming up and we're looking forward to it. Hopefully we can continue playing some great tennis."
Bryan, who has won the Citi Open four times with twin brother Bob Bryan, who underwent hip surgery this week, was trying to extend his record to 120 tour-level doubles titles. Roger-Vasselin, the 2016 champion with Daniel Nestor, was pursuing his 15th. But they will settle for 300 points and a share of $56,620.
“It’s the first time I’ve played with a No. 1 in the world, so it was a great experience for me. I’m really happy,” Roger-Vasselin said. “They played really well at the end, and that’s when it counts, to win the last point.”