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Fleming/Soares Triumph On Team Debut; Honour Hutchins In Auckland

Doubles 2013

Fleming, Soares© Getty ImagesColin Fleming and Bruno Soares won their maiden team trophy.

Top seeds Colin Fleming and Bruno Soares capped off their team debut with the Heineken Open title on Saturday, edging Johan Brunstrom and Frederik Nielsen 7-6(1), 7-6(2) in Auckland.

Fleming and Soares overcame early break deficits in each set and had two match points at 5-4 in the second set on Brunstrom’s serve, before the Swede and his Danish partner fought them off. Fleming and Soares surged ahead in the ensuing tie-break to prevail in one hour and 35 minutes.

“I wasn't able to play with my partner. He was injured,” Soares said. “Colin and I spoke to each other right before coming here, so it was sort of a last minute deal. I've known him for a long time and we're good friends. Playing with him here was a pleasure. We knew we could play well together.”

Video courtesy Heineken Open. Visit the official tournament website

After clinching the victory, Fleming wrote 'For Rosco' and Soares signed 'With You' on the courtside camera to Ross Hutchins. Hutchins, who is Fleming's full-time partner, was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma and began chemotherapy on Thursday.

“It means a lot to me for a lot of reasons,” said Fleming. “It's nice to start the year well. It was a pleasure playing with Bruno this week, so I'm happy that we could go all the way and win the title. We're good friends and it's nice to share it together.

“Speaking of friends, it's obviously been a tough time. I normally play with Ross Hutchins and he can't be here unfortunately. It's nice to be able to win and send a lot of messages of support for him, because it's all about positivity. Everyone in the tennis world is supporting him, and was just nice to say that and send it home. He's got a tough fight ahead, but he's very positive and I know he's going to get through it. It was a nice moment to be able to do that.

“I speak to him every day. He wished me luck for the final and every other match. The fight's begun and so his comeback has started. I'm sure he is going to be really strong. He has all the tools to overcome it.”

The British/Brazilian duo won all five tie-breaks they played this week and lost just one set en route to the crown. Fleming improved to 6-4 in ATP World Tour finals. Soares upped his mark to an 11-9 record and has lifted trophies in five of the past seven tournaments he's entered, dating back to Kuala Lumpur in September. The first-time pairing takes home 250 Emirates ATP Ranking points and shares $23,770.

Brunstrom and Nielsen were looking to win their first title together, having finished runner-up at the Moselle Open in Metz (l. to Mahut/Roger-Vasselin) last year. Brunstrom dropped to 1-11 in tour-level finals, while Nielsen fell to 1-2. 

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