Grand Prix Hassan II
Kubot & Marach Capture First Crown Together
by ATP Staff|
Top seeds Lukasz Kubot and Oliver Marach captured their first ATP World Tour doubles title with a hard-fought 7-6(4), 3-6, 10-6 victory over No. 2 seeds Simon Aspelin and Paul Hanley on Saturday in the final of the Grand Prix Hassan II, an ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament in Casablanca.
The Polish-Austrian duo rallied from dropping serve twice in the second set, as Aspelin-Knowle leveled the match, to hold its nerve in the match tie-break and clinch victory after one hour and 49 minutes.
Kubot and Marach had finished runner-up at Casablanca (l. to Kerr-Skoch) in 2007 and at Acapulco (l. to Cermak-Mertinak) two months ago in their previous two ATP World Tour final appearances.
“We are very happy that we finally made it playing our third final,” said Marach. “We had two tough matches in a row now and it feels great to make it through to the title.”
Kubot and Marach have been one of the form teams on the ATP World Tour in 2009 and their strong results have taken them to No. 4 in the 2009 ATP Doubles Team Rankings. Prior to reaching the final in Acapulco, they reached back-to-back semi-finals at the Australian Open (l. to Bhupathi-Knowles) and Costa do Sauipe (l. to Granollers-Robredo).
The 26-year-old Kubot captured his first ATP World Tour doubles title from his fourth final appearance after having also finished runner-up in Lyon (w/Zovko) in 2007. Marach, 28, was contesting his eighth ATP World Tour doubles final and clinched his third title to join triumphs with Michal Mertinak at 2007 Bucharest and 2008 Acapulco.
“I'm very, very happy that we won,” said Kubot. “I have to say that we were a bit lucky. In the semi-finals we were close to losing and today we made it in the match tie-break. It is my first title and it feels great.”
Swedish Aspelin and Hanley of Australia united for the first time this week and brought to the table a combined total of 31 doubles title (Aspelin, 10; Hanley, 21). Both have ranked in the Top 10 in the ATP Doubles Rankings, Aspelin peaking at No. 8 last March and Hanley reaching No. 5 in November 2006.