It’s a special first for Marcelo Melo…
The 31-year-old Brazilian tennis player and his doubles partner Ivan Dodig rallied from near defeat to upset two-time French Open champions and top seeds Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 7-5 in the Roland Garros men’s doubles final on Saturday.
In the process, Melo and Dodig captured their first Grand Slam title as a team, having previously finished runner-up to the Bryans in the 2013 Wimbledon final.
They exacted revenge on the American twins after also falling in the 2014 ATP World Tour Finals title match, overcoming a set and a break deficit.
Both teams remained on serve in the third set until 5-5, when Melo’s quick hands at the net gave them the decisive break. A Dodig lunging forehand winner would hand them their first championship point a game later, which they converted after two hours and 15 minutes.
“It was a great atmosphere,” said Melo during the on-court ceremony. “We thought we could do big things when we got together four years ago and our faith paid off. It wasn’t easy playing with Guga there in the stands, but thank you for coming to support us.”
“Thank you to all the people who came to watch a great match,” added Dodig. “We will continue to play many more tournaments.”
The Brazilian-Croatian tandem won their third tour-level title together. They also triumphed at the 2013 Shanghai Rolex Masters and 2015 Abierto Mexicano Telcel. With Gustavo Kuerten in the crowd, Melo became the first Brazilian champion at Roland Garros since 2001, when “Guga” won the men’s singles title.
The Bryans, meanwhile, were bidding to claim an Open Era record third Roland Garros team title and an unprecedented 17th overall at the Grand Slam level.
“Congratulations to Ivan and Marcelo,” said Bob. “It was a great match today. They’re good friends of ours and it’s good for the game. Got to thank the crowd for sticking around, it was a great atmosphere. Lastly, we’d like to thank our team. It’s great having my wife and the kids on the road.”