ROLAND GARROS 2011
Mirnyi-Nestor Capture First Slam Title
by ATP Staff|
Canadian Daniel Nestor retained his Roland Garros doubles crown as he and Belarusian partner Max Mirnyi won their first Grand Slam title together by defeating South Americans Juan Sebastian Cabal and Eduardo Schwank 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-4 in Saturday’s final in Paris.
"It's unbelievable. Winning never gets old," declared Nestor. "[The] biggest goal in my career is winning Grand Slams. They're all special for different reasons. Every time you win with a new partner, that first one is an amazing feeling. Today is no exception."
Added Mirnyi, "I think any Grand Slam is a special win, but particularly for a new team it's a very important hump to get over. We knew on paper we're capable of playing well together. [But] up until you produce a result, you never know. Now having won a Grand Slam we know what we need to work on. We hope to maintain the level and hopefully get many more important wins."
World No. 3 Nestor lifted the winners’ trophy last year with Serbia’s Nenad Zimonjic, and had also triumphed in 2007 with former long-time partner Mark Knowles of the Bahamas. The 33-year-old Mirnyi also won the title for the third time, having won back-to-back trophies with Jonas Bjorkman in 2005-2006.
Tour-level debutant Cabal and partner Schwank had been the surprise of the tournament on their way through to the final, including taking out World No. 1 pairing Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan in the semi-finals. The Colombian-Argentine duo carried their good form into the final as they pushed second seeds Mirnyi and Nestor to a first-set tie-break before surrendering the opener.
The South Americans responded strongly in the second set, though, and after saving multiple break points in their opening service game, pounced on their opponents’ serve to earn a 3-0 lead. They went on to save another break point in the ninth game before levelling the match.
In a close third set, the experience of Mirnyi and Nestor told as they broke their opponents decisively in the 10th game to claim a hard-fought victory in two hours and 17 minutes on Court Philippe Chatrier.
"Today was a dog fight," reflected Nestor. "I thought those guys were playing tough. We were fortunate to win the first set, and kind of let the opportunity slip away at the beginning of the second set, Love-40, to go up a break. I didn't play a good enough game on serve.
"One thing we did well the whole tournament was keep fighting. And no matter what happened the point before, missed opportunity, missed easy shot, we just played the next point and blocked it out of our mind. That's why we're the champs."
Mirnyi and Nestor joined forces full time in 2011 and reached the Australian Open semi-finals (l. to Bhupathi-Paes) before winning their maiden team title in Memphis (d. Butorac-Rojer). The 38-year-old Nestor, who recorded his 800th tour-level win in the first round, captured his seventh Grand Slam doubles crown. Mirnyi won his fifth major title.
The 25-year-old Cabal was the first Colombian to reach a major final since Ivan Molina reached the Roland Garros mixed doubles final in 1977. He was bidding to become the first player in the Open Era to win a Grand Slam title on his first appearance at a major. The more experienced Schwank, who is ranked inside the Top 40, had reached two Grand Slam doubles semi-finals last year at Wimbledon (w/ Chela) and the US Open (w/ Zeballos).