BARCLAYS ATP WORLD TOUR FINALS 2011
Mirnyi-Nestor Clinch Year-End Title Over 'Polish Power'
by James Buddell|
Third seeds Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor defeated eighth seeds Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski 7-5, 6-3 on Sunday to clinch the doubles title at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. They won 31 of 33 first service points to lift their fourth title of the year.
Mirnyi and Nestor went undefeated throughout the elite circuit finale, at The O2 in London, and share a cheque for $287,500. Nestor, 39, lifts his fourth year-end title in five years, having received silverware in 2007 (w/Knowles), 2008 and 2010 (w/Zimonjic). The 34-year-old Mirnyi won the 2006 title (w/Bjorkman).
"We feel great to have been able to win the tournament," said Mirnyi. "We're very excited to have done it without losing a match. We felt that we built confidence throughout the week because we escaped a few very close matches early on in the tournament. Today, towards the end of the match, I felt we both played pretty good."
Nestor, who was appearing in his sixth year-end final, admitted, "Six weeks ago, if you would have asked me if we would have won this, I would have been surprised. But the way we've been playing in the fall, I wouldn't say surprised. It's just one of those things."
The first three games were decided on sudden death deuces. Mirnyi was broken to 30 in the third game, when Matkowski hit a backhand return straight down the middle to dissect Mirnyi and Nestor. But Fyrstenberg could not confirm the break, losing his serve to 15, as Nestor hit a clever crosscourt forehand volley to level at 2-2. Matkowski was almost broken in the sixth game, squandering a 40/15 lead, before Fyrstenberg poached at the net on another game-deciding point.
As the set edged closer to a tie-break, Mirnyi and Nestor raised their games. At 5-6, they overpowered Fyrstenberg and earned two set point opportunities. Mirnyi fired a forehand winner at Fyrstenberg's feet to wrap up the 48-minute opener. Mirnyi and Nestor got 89 per cent of their first serves into play, winning 16 of 18 first service points. They converted two of six break point chances.
In the second set, neither team earned a break point opportunity through the first five games. Matkowski hit two double faults at 2-3 to put the Poles under pressure at 30/30. Mirnyi then hit a forehand winner down the line to end a long rally, which was played out at the net. Nestor took control on the break point for a 4-2 lead. One break proved to be enough, as Nestor held for love to clinch victory in 80 minutes when Mirnyi hit a smash winner.
Mirnyi and Nestor, who reunited in 2011 after a brief partnership 11 years ago, end the season with a 47-19 match record, which includes four titles from eight finals. They lifted the Roland Garros trophy (d. Cabal-Schwank) in June.
Fyrstenberg and Matkowski, known as the 'Polish Power', finish the year with a 22-28 match record, highlighted by a run to the US Open final (l. to Melzer-Petzschner) in September. The duo will feature in the January issue of the ATP's DEUCE Magazine.
The only other Polish player ever to make a final at the year-end tournament - singles or doubles - was Wojtek Fibak (singles runner-up in 1976, doubles runner-up in 1978 and 1979).