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Mirnyi-Nestor Win First Team Title In Memphis


Mirnyi, Nestor© Ron AngleMax Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor won their first ATP World Tour doubles title.

Top seeds Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor won the first ATP World Tour doubles title of their new partnership on Sunday as they edged fourth seeds Eric Butorac and Jean-Julien Rojer 6-2, 6-7(6), 10-3 in the final of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships in Memphis.

The 38-year-old Nestor clinched his 72nd tour-level doubles title – the most among active players – and his second trophy in Memphis, having triumphed with former long-term partner Mark Knowles in 1996 and 2003. Meanwhile, the 33-year-old Mirnyi claimed his 38th tour-level doubles crown in his 72nd final. Nestor has now won titles with six different partners, and Mirnyi with 15.

“It’s exciting, certainly,” said Mirnyi. “I guess it doesn’t make much difference whether it’s 71 or 72 or 74, but I guess being on the board as a team, obviously we want to do as well as we can every week we play. Especially for me, I feel like I can still improve a lot on the doubles court and I want to work through it, work with Daniel, and try to get better every time. Today was a good step, a right step in the right direction.” 

Mirnyi and Nestor, who were on opposite sides of the net in the final of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in November, joined forces full time at the beginning of the 2011 season and enjoyed early success as they reached the semi-finals at the Brisbane International and the Australian Open.

Currently fifth in the 2011 ATP Doubles Team Rankings, the Belarusian-Canadian duo earned a further 500 ranking points with victory at the ATP World Tour 500 indoor hard-court tennis tournament. The top eight teams at the end of the regular season will qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

Mirnyi and Nestor, who did not drop a set en route to the final, broke serve twice to clinch the opener and had six opportunities to seal victory in the second set. They could not convert, though, and paid the price as Butorac and Rojer, who had saved seven break points in the set, clinched the tie-break to level the match. Undeterred, Mirnyi and Nestor kept up the pressure in the Match Tie-break and were rewarded as they triumphed in 84 minutes.

“After having several opportunities to finish it off, it was important to. We just said to each other, ‘Let’s be tough and keep working through it,’” said Mirnyi. “We know that our games, when it’s on, it’s tough to beat and we’re focused on basic stuff, on making a lot of first serves, on going after our balls. Anytime we’re playing aggressive and we’re committed to our shots we’re going to be tough to beat, so we just wanted to make sure we played this tie-breaker with what we have and if we get beaten today or on any given day, it’s too good. But we wanted to give it our best.”

Nestor added: “They serve well. Some of them we had looks at them. Obviously it was tough to lose all of them. I think I could’ve made some better returns on some of them. I think Max had one reflex that maybe he’d like to have back. Credit goes to them. I think most of them were first serves that they hit. For sure we could’ve done better with it, but the biggest part of the match was the way we regrouped to start the third set. That’s what we’re most happy about. Going forward, I think that was good.”

Butorac and Rojer were contesting the fourth ATP World Tour doubles final of their seven-month partnership and dropped to a 2-2 record. They reached the final in Los Angeles (l. to Bryans) on their team debut last July and won back-to-back titles in Tokyo and Stockholm in October.  Currently fourth in the 2011 ATP Doubles Team Rankings after semi-final showings at Auckland and the Australian Open, they earned another 300 ranking points.

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