BARCLAYS ATP WORLD TOUR FINALS 2013
Peya/Soares, Marrero/Verdasco Qualify For SFs From Group B
by James Buddell|
Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares won Group B at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals on Friday and will be joined in the semi-finals by David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco, who finished in second position.
Second seeds Peya and Soares completed round robin play with a 2-1 record after they defeated sixth seeds Marrero and Verdasco 6-3, 7-5 in 68 minutes, during Friday’s evening session.
Marrero was broken to 30 in the eighth game of the 30-minute first set. Peya and Soares broke Marrero again, on sudden death deuce at 3-3 in the second set. Soares missed out on a match point opportunity when serving at 5-4 in the second set, as Verdasco hit a forehand volley winner. Peya and Soares immediately broke Verdasco to 15, then Peya confidently closed out the pair’s 55th match win of the year with a backhand volley winner.
"We already knew after the first set that it was enough to qualify for the semi-finals," Peya told BarclaysATPWorldTourFinals.com. "But when you step on the court, you just want to win every match. We're very happy with our performance and pleased to be through to the semis."
Soares told BarclaysATPWorldTourFinals.com, "It was a tough one for us. We came in knowing that we would qualify with one set. We did a great job hanging in there. We played a good first set. It was very important not to have the extra pressure of having to win the second set. We're very happy to have qualified for the semi-finals."
Earlier in the day, defending champions Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez finished Group B with a 1-2 record at The O2 in London. The fourth seeds defeated seventh seeds Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek 4-6, 7-6(5), 10-8. It was their first win in three meetings against Paes and Stepanek.
Paes and Stepanek had an opportunity to qualify with a 1-2 record had Marrero and Verdasco beaten Peya and Soares in straight sets.
Lopez and Paes each saved three break point opportunities, including deciding deuce points, in the third and fourth games of the first set. Stepanek earned the first break of serve when he anticipated a Granollers backhand by rushing across the court to hit a high forehand volley winner at 30/40 on Granollers serve.
Paes and Stepanek could have led 5-2, but Lopez proved to be fleet of foot in striking a crosscourt forehand off-balance into the narrowest of gaps. Stepanek went on to clinch the 38-minute opener with a solid hold to 15. Paes belied his 40 years with a number of athletic volleys.
The Spaniards came under pressure once again at the start of the second set. But Granollers managed to survive a deciding point deuce, with a body serve to Stepanek, who was broken on his own deciding point in the fourth game.
Granollers and Lopez earned a confidence boosting hold for 4-1, before Paes and Stepanek mounted a comeback by hurrying Lopez into error at 4-2, 30/40 to get the set back on serve. In the tie-break, Granollers struck a backhand volley winner off a Lopez second serve at 6-5.
Paes and Stepanek targeted Lopez in the longer rallies early on in the Match Tie-break. Paes, where possible, took risks and snapped up half chances close to the net. The duo led 3-1, but Granollers and Lopez regained their composure to win seven of the next eight points, combining groundstroke power with outstanding net play reactions, for an 8-4 advantage. The duo clinched their third match point opportunity for their 31st win in 54 matches as a team in 2013. The match lasted one hour and 49 minutes.
"It was a good finish to the tournament," Granollers told BarclaysATPWorldTourFinals.com. "We knew after losing the first set we couldn't qualify, but we kept trying to win and we managed it."
Lopez told BarclaysATPWorldTourFinals.com, "It's always very special to win a match at the Masters. It's very difficult because you're playing against the best players. We lost the first two matches, but it was very important to us to go on holiday after a win against a great pair in this great tournament."
Paes and Stepanek finish their season with a 15-8 match record as a team, which includes winning the US Open in September (d. Peya-Soares).
Paes, who had qualified for the season finale for the 14th time, finished runner-up in 1997, 1999, 2000 (all w/Bhupathi) and 2005 (w/Zimonjic).