The first time’s the charm for David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco…
Following their unexpected win in the semifinals at their first-ever ATP World Tour Finals, the Spanish tenistas upset the top-seeded Bryan brothers to win the doubles title at the O2 Arena.
The sixth seeds had never even qualified for the year-end tournament before and had lost all three of their previous matches against the world No 1 partnership. But they triumphed in a stellar match 7-5 6-7 (3-7) 10-7.
They saved four set points in the first set, Verdasco recovering from 0-40 down at 4-5, and the left-hander, still one of the most dangerous customers on the singles circuit, was the key man in a gripping contest.
In the next game, Mike Bryan double faulted at 15/30 to gift two break point opportunities to Marrero and Verdasco. He saved the first with a fine backhand crosscourt winner, but Verdasco clinched the game when his stinging forehand was too much for Bob Bryan, who could only volley long.
And the Spaniards clinched the next game to win the first set.
Verdasco’s forehand, one of the most devastating and feared shots on the men’s tour, got the Spaniards out of trouble time and time again. But the American twins – who had won the title three times before – hit back to level it up by winning the second set on the tiebreak.
There was just one mini-break in the deciding Champions tiebreak and it was set up by another sensational Verdasco forehand down-the-line winner.
On match point Bob Bryan could only chip a Verdasco serve long and the sixth seeds could celebrate becoming the third all-Spanish pair to win the title after Juan Gisbert and Manuel Orantes in 1975 and last year’s champions Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez.
The Bryans finished No 1 for a fifth straight year and a record ninth time overall. They have won 11 titles this season, including the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon.