© Mike Lawrence/Citi Open

Ben McLachlan and Raven Klaasen defeat Neal Skupski and Michael Venus on Sunday in Washington.

Klaasen/McLachlan Capture Washington Title

It is the fourth seeds first title of the season

Fourth seeds Raven Klaasen and Ben McLachlan overcame Neal Skupski and Michael Venus 7-6(4), 6-4 on Sunday at the Citi Open in Washington to win their first ATP Tour title of the season.

The South African-Japanese tandem did not drop a set this week en route to the trophy in the United States’ capital. Klaasen and McLachlan battled back from 3-5 in the first set, winning 86 per cent (32/37) of their first-service points to record victory in one hour and 46 minutes.

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"It is a fantastic feeling," Klaasen said. "To finally get over that hump, as we have lost a couple of semi-finals, it is nice to have finished it off. Especially here in Washington, where I won the title in 2019, it was nice to come out here and do it again. In the second set we were hanging on for dear life and we were probably the worse team. But being together for a year now, the experience probably helps.

"With this scoring system, you know things can change in a heartbeat. We have been on the receiving end of a few losses like this. We made a couple of key returns at 3-5 in the first set to stay alive and fortunately today it worked out for us. You have to hang in until the end of the set."

Klaasen and McLachlan enjoyed a run to the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in July, and reached the semi-finals at ATP 250 events in Santiago, Estoril and Geneva this year.

It is the second ATP Tour crown the pair has won together, having captured the bett1HULKS Championship in Cologne last October on their team debut. Individually, It is the 18th tour-level title Klassen has won, while it is the seventh time McLachlan has triumphed.

In a tight first set, Klaasen and McLachlan responded from losing serve in the eighth game to quickly level at 5-5. They then raised their level in the tie-break to move ahead before breaking at 5-4 in the second set to seal their victory.

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Second seeds Skupski and Venus were making their team debut this week and beat #NextGenATP stars Sebastian Korda and Jannik Sinner in the semi-finals.

Earlier in the season, Skupski reached back-to-back ATP Masters 1000 finals with Daniel Evans in Miami and Monte-Carlo (l. to Mektic/Pavic both times) and won the title in Acapulco with brother Ken Skupski. Venus has captured two titles with two partners this year: Hamburg with Tim Puetz and Geneva with John Peers.