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Butorac/Klaasen Claim First Team Title in Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

ButoracKlaasen© Kamarul Akhir/Malaysian OpenButorac/Klaasen were playing their first tournament as a team

American Eric Butorac and South African Raven Klaasen claimed their first ATP World Tour title as a team, defeating Pablo Cuevas and Horacio Zeballos 6-2, 6-4 in 56 minutes to win the Malaysian Open, in Kuala Lumpur. 

The duo won 81 per cent of first serve points and converted four of seven break points to seal victory in their first tournament as a team.

"From the first practice, [until] the final match, I thought we had a really great week together, put some good tennis on court, and that was what happened," said Butorac. 

"We knew the first match was probably going to be the biggest test because we hadn't played together before, and we kind of had to figure a few things out. I feel like we got stronger every [match], so we really enjoyed it out there, and the crowd today really showed up and made it fun out there for us," said Klaasen.

The 32-year-old Butorac won his first title of the season, and first since Sao Paulo in February 2012. The left-hander improved his win-loss record in finals to 14-8, and has now won at least one title in every season since 2007. He said past success in Kuala Lumpur helped his title run this year. 

"There's a little bit of like, calm, when you walk on Centre Court, because you know that you've performed well on this court before. So, I think when I came out here the very first day and went to hit balls... The last time I was here I won the tournament so there's like a little bit of good feelings," said Butorac. 

The American thinks he works well with Klaasen, due to their affinity for attacking at the net. "I think we have different skills, but play a similar style of doubles. If you saw in the finals, the other guys wanted to sit back and hit shots really hard from the baseline, but we wanted to play a lot at the net. We were really able to craft the points and play them in our favour, so I think hopefully moving forward that we can use those tactical and court smarts to our advantage."

The 30-year-old Klaasen improved his win-loss record in finals to 3-1, and consolidated a successful fortnight. Last week, he captured his second title of the season in Metz (w/Brunstrom).

The American/South African team are planning on building on their partnership. "We've decided that we're going to play together until the end of the season, and then we'll start next year together too, so hopefully we can build on this momentum and form going into next season," said Klaasen. 

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