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Granollers/Lopez Win Biggest Title Of Their Careers In London

London, England

Granollers, Lopez© AFP/Getty ImagesMarc Lopez and Marcel Granollers celebrate clinching the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals doubles trophy on Monday night at The O2 in London.

Sixth seeds Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez became the second Spanish team to win the season-ending championships on Monday when they defeated fifth-seeded Indians Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna 7-5, 3-6, 10-3 for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals title at The O2 in London.

ATP Executive Chairman and President Brad Drewett presented Granollers and Lopez the doubles trophy. Ashok Vaswani, the Chief Executive of Barclays Retail and Business Banking, also offered the pair his congratulations after they won their third title of the year.

“We finished here winning the title, so it's incredible for us,” said Granollers. “We try to play as best as we can always. I think we have very good relationship. So, I think, that's one of the key of our success.

Granollers, Lopez"I'd like to congratulate Mahesh and Rohan for their year. They played a great tournament. Good luck next season. Marc is one of my best friends. To win here with him is very special. Thanks to the ATP for a great tournament and to Barclays for supporting our sport."

The only other Spanish duo to win the championship are Juan Gisbert Sr. and Manuel Orantes in 1975 at Stockholm, when they captured the title with the best round robin record. 

The pair, who will compete for Spain in next week’s Davis Cup final against the Czech Republic, recorded their 40th match win of the season (40-16 overall) in 90 minutes. They are now 3-4 in tour-level finals this year, having teamed up in February.

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Bhupathi, BopannaGranollers and Lopez, playing one-up and one-back to great effect, took a 2-1 lead in the first set, after Granollers hit three successive forehands at Bopanna, who hit a backhand volley into the net on the deciding point. However, Lopez was broken in the next game. At 5-5, Bhupathi mis-placed two serves to fall to 0/30. The 38-year-old Bhupathi made two further backhand volley errors, off Granollers forehands. Serving for the set, Lopez faced sudden death deuce and break point, but Granollers intercepted a backhand volley to clinch the opener in 43 minutes. The Spaniards had won 23 of their 34 service points.

Midway through the second set, at 3-4, the Indians set up two break point chances at 30/40. Lopez centred play on Bhupathi, less flashier and powerful than Bopanna, to recoup one point, but on the deciding point Granollers committed a forehand error. Bopanna then coolly closed out to 30 with the team’s fifth ace of the set, which lasted 35 minutes. Bhupathi and Bopanna had won 76 per cent of their first service points.

Granollers, LopezClever inter-play and defence by Granollers and Lopez gave them a 4-0 lead in the Match tie-break, which saw Bhupathi and Bopanna guilty of not putting away their volleys and rushing into their strokes. Having won six of the first seven points, Granollers and Lopez weathered a Bhupathi grounstroke blitz. At 9-3, with Lopez serving, Bhupathi put a forehand volley long. Granollers and Lopez ran to one another in celebration after capturing the biggest title of their careers.

Granollers and Lopez were the first Spanish duo to play at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals since Sergio Casal and Emilio Sanchez in 1994. Casal-Sanchez finished as runners up in 1988 and 1990.

“It’s always tough playing them,” said Bhupathi. “They're not a conventional doubles team. They make it very, very difficult in more ways than one, no matter who they play. We were expecting that. We fought hard to stay in the match. [We] got ourselves again into a Match tie-break. This time I think we just played a bad tie-break. That sums it up.

Bopanna, who will be getting married in 10 days time, added, “They’re not just serve and volley players, traditional doubles players. They mix a lot. They stay back. They serve and stay back. They cross a lot. They hit different kinds of shots, which it's very tough. You're not sure whether they're going to come in or cross.” He will be playing with Rajeev Ram next season.

Doubles finalistsBhupathi and Bopanna end their partnership with a 34-22 season record. Last week, they won their first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophy at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris (d. Qureshi-Rojer) and played with confidence throughout the week in the English capital. Bhupathi, who was making his 12th appearance, has now finished as runner-up on five occasions – in 1997, 1999-2000 with Leander Paes and with Max Mirnyi in 2010.

When looking back on their partnership, Bhupathi said, "There were times in the year where the pundits of Indian tennis threw us under the bus, said that 'we're not good enough', said that, 'these guys are jokers', in a diplomatic way. But we believed in ourselves. We reached three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 finals, won one Masters 1000 title and finished runners up here. We've beaten all the top teams there are to beat. We came through with flying colours, which I think is credit to us at the end of the day."

The 2012 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, which lasted eight days, was watched by a record 263,229 spectators at The O2. 

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