Ullyett Wins Fifth Stockholm Crown With Soares; Duo Re-Ignite London Finals Bid
by ATP Staff|
Top seeds Bruno Soares of Brazil and Zimbabwean Kevin Ullyett captured their second ATP World Tour team title on Sunday and re-ignited their bid to clinch one of four remaining berths at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in November.
Soares and Ullyett improved to 2-2 lifetime in ATP World Tour finals after beating second seeds Simon Aspelin of Sweden and Australian Paul Hanley 6-4, 7-6(4) in one hour and 31 minutes at the If Stockholm Open. The titlists' earned 250 ATP World Tour Ranking points and $30,730 in prize money.
It was 37-year-old Ullyett's fifth Stockholm title, with his fifth different partner. He lifted trophies in 1999 (w/Piet Norval), 2002 (w/Wayne Black), 2006 (w/Paul Hanley) and last year (w/Jonas Bjorkman). "A lot of players have their favourite places to play, and for Stockholm is one of them," said Ullyett. "I feel very privileged and happy to have won my fifth title here."
Ullyett, who is playing his final year on the ATP World Tour circuit, extended his doubles title streak to 13 consecutive years since winning his first trophy at Shanghai in 1997. He improved to 34-25 lifetime in finals.
"We haven't won many matches in the last six weeks," admitted Ullyett. "So to win four matches in a row and win the title here is incredible for us.
"It's even more special as I'm coming to the end of my career so it's great to get a fifth title, and on top of that it gets us more points on the board to get to London, which would be even sweater for us. For Bruno, as it's his first full year on the tour, it would be huge for us to make the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals."
Both pairs exchanged service breaks at the start of the match, but Soares and Ullyett opened up a two-game advantage at 4-2 and maintained the lead to clinch the 38-minute first set.
Aspelin and Hanley, who first teamed up together in April, moved into a 5-2 lead courtesy of a hard-earned service break in the sixth game. But their lead was short-lived as Soares and Ullyett broke break in the ninth game en route to winning three games in a row.
In a tense second-set tie-break Aspelin and Hanley opened up a 4-2 lead, but Soares and Ullyett won five points in a row for the indoor hard-court title. Both pairs won 72 per cent of service points and hit three aces, but Aspelin and Hanley could only convert one of five break point opportunities.
Aspelin and Hanley were appearing in their third ATP World Tour final of the season. They were finalists in their debut tournament at the Grand Prix Hassan II in Casablanca and in July they captured the International German Open title in Hamburg.
Aspelin dropped to 11-19 lifetime in doubles finals, while Hanley – appearing in his sixth Stockholm final highlighted by triumphs in 2005 (w/Wayne Arthurs) and 2006 (w/Ullyett) – fell to 22-19 overall in title matches.
"I would like to congratulate my partner," said Soares. "Yesterday was the 500th win of his career, which is incredible. I'd like to thank him for playing so well all week. He deserves this title for sure."
On Saturday, Ullyett became the eighth active player on the ATP World Tour to register 500 career doubles match wins. He has a 501-305 lifetime doubles match record.