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Mertinak, Pala Seal First Team Trophy

Umag, Croatia

Third seeds Michal Mertinak and Petr Pala won the ATP Studena Croatia Open for the first time as a team on Sunday, defeating unseeded duo Carlos Berlocq and Fabio Fognini 2-6, 6-3, 10-5.

Mertinak and Pala have both won the Umag title on previous occasions, but with different partners. Slovak Mertinak is the defending champion, having captured the title last year with Lukas Dlouhy, while Czech Pala triumphed in 2005 partnering Jiri Novak.

“They started out really strong in the first set and were definitely the better team but then we changed things up at the start of the second and we were always leading from then onwards,” assessed Pala. “This tournament is one of the nicest in the year so it's always a pleasure to come and play here. I'm quite surprised to have won the title here, as I haven't played much this year. This could be one of my last ATP tournaments. We will see - maybe I will play the US Open, I'm not sure yet. It's hard to quit if you keep winning!"

Added Mertinak: "I'm very happy to have won. I had some pressure on me, as I was the defending champion. It feels great to win here again."

World No. 40 Mertinak and No. 103 Pala now improve to a 15-10 record as a duo, they won the 2006 Chennai title (d.Amritraj/Bopanna) in their first appearance together.

Mertinak/Pala receive 175 Stanford ATP Doubles Ranking points and split €15,000 in prize money, while rookie duo Berlocq/Fognini earn 120 points and share €9,000.

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