BARCLAYS ATP WORLD TOUR FINALS 2012
Paes/Stepanek Win London Team Debut To Lead Group A
by James Buddell|
Paes, a 14-time qualifier, with a 20-27 record, including four runner-up finishes, was the dominant player in the Group A match at The O2 in London, rarely missing a volley or short forehand to steer tournament debutant Stepanek to victory. The pair lead the round-robin group at the season-ending championships.
Paes and Stepanek improved to 31-9 on the season, which includes three titles from five finals after they beat Qureshi and Rojer, with two breaks of serve, in one hour and 33 minutes.
Both teams were nervous at the start of their first meeting, with Stepanek saving one break point on sudden death deuce in the second game. Rojer recovered from 30/40 at 3-3, before Qureshi was broken to 30 as Stepanek and Paes produced solid returns and attacked the net. Stepanek closed out the 41-minute set with his second ace.
Five points went against serve in the first six game of the second set, with Paes and Qureshi surviving sudden death deuces in the second and fifth games. Stepanek won four straight points from 15/40 at 3-4, giving the Czech and Paes the impetus they needed to break Rojer to love for a 6-5 lead. Once again Stepanek closed out the set for victory.
Qureshi and Rojer were left to rue missing out on six break point opportunities. Arrving in London on the back of a runner-up finish at the BNP Paribas Masters, the Pakistani-Dutch team drop to a 34-23 record on the season, which includes two ATP World Tour titles.