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Fleming-Skupski Cap Dream Week With First Title

Colin Fleming, Ken Skupski© Arnaud BantquinColin Fleming (front) and Ken Skupski were playing their first ATP main draw as a direct acceptance.

Unseeded British duo Colin Fleming and Ken Skupski capped a dream week by defeating top seeded Frenchmen Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra to win their first ATP World Tour title Sunday.

Fleming and Skupski dethroned the two-time defending champions 2-6, 6-4, 10-5 in the final of the Open de Moselle, an ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament in Metz, France.

The British duo received 250 ATP World Tour Ranking points and €22,750 to share in prize money. Runners-up Clement and Llodra gained 150 ATP World Tour Ranking points and €11,450.

After losing serve twice to surrender the first set 6-2, Fleming and Skupski hit back to break serve in the seventh game of the second set before levelling the match. They then held their nerve in the match tie-break to clinch victory over the 2007 Wimbledon champions after 79 minutes.

En route to their first ATP World Tour final, they defeated No. 3 seeds Christopher Kas and Rogier Wassen in the quarter-finals and surrendered just five games as they dismissed Germans Philipp Kohlschreiber and Philipp Petzschner in the semi-finals.

"This is our first [direct] acceptance at ATP World Tour level," confirmed Skupski. "In the three (ATP World Tour tournaments) that we’ve played we’ve beaten the Bryan brothers and Melo-Sa, who are Top 20. So we always knew that we were capable of beating top guys.

"These guys (Clement-Llodra) are very good and they outplayed us from the start but we kept plugging away and we found a way to get back into it and then we felt we had a chance. We tried to influence the Match tie-break early and we were fortunate to do so. We feel like we’ve got a good chance to break into the Top 50 now."

The 25-year-old Fleming and Skupski, 26, had combined for a 3-3 record in ATP World Tour-level play in 2009 prior to their success this week. They enjoyed a breakthrough week at the AEGON Championships at the Queen’s Club, where they defeated Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan to reach the quarter-finals. They also posted a quarter-final effort the following week at the AEGON International in Eastbourne (l. to Soares-Ullyett).

"It was nice to get the chance to come and play here and we’ve taken the opportunity. We worked hard and played well so it’s great to take the opportunity," said Fleming.

Clement and Llodra slipped to a 7-5 lifetime together in ATP World Tour finals. They were playing in just their third tournament of the year, but had captured the Open 13 (d. Knowle-Ram) title in Marseille in February.

Both Clement and Llodra are three-time winners in Metz. Together with the titles they won jointly in 2007 and ’08 with victory over Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski, the 31-year-old Clement also triumphed in 2004 with Nicolas Mahut, while the 29-year-old Llodra lifted the trophy in 2005 with Fabrice Santoro

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©Neven Gerencir

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