Melo/Kubot Capture First Masters 1000 Team Title
Two-time team titlists Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo added their first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown to their trophy haul on Saturday afternoon. The Polish/Brazilian combination dismissed Americans Nicholas Monroe and Jack Sock 7-5, 6-3 to win the Miami Open presented by Itau doubles title.
Kubot/Melo had won back-to-back Erste Bank Open 500 championships in Vienna in 2015 and 2016, but the two had never won a Masters 1000 crown. They came close last month, falling to Raven Klaasen/Rajeev Ram in the BNP Paribas Open final in Indian Wells.
But on Saturday, Kubot/Melo were clutch and came through on one of the game's biggest stages. The titlists saved eight of nine break points and broke the Americans three times in the 82-minute final.
“I am feeling pretty happy. It's not every day you win a Masters . We had a chance last week in Indian Wells and then today was another opportunity for us. So we are very happy to come through and be champions of a tournament that's so important for us,” Melo said.
Their first break came at exactly the right time: set point in the opener. Kubot slapped a backhand return at Monroe, who sliced his volley just wide. Two games later, Kubot/Melo had broken again for 2-0 lead in the second set. But Monroe, with Kubot/Melo serving at 2-0, 15/40, ripped a forehand up the line and jogged to the chair as they were back on serve.
The even play wouldn't last, though. Kubot/Melo reeled off four consecutive points to hold for a 3-2 lead and broke the next game when Sock double faulted. Three games later, Kubot/Melo served out the match for the championship. “It was emotional in the end but very happy to win, especially for me because it's my first Masters 1000 win. I wanted to win so much,” Kubot said.
Melo has won six ATP World Tour Masters 1000 doubles titles. He and Kubot will receive 1,000 Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings points and split $385,170 for winning the Miami title. Monroe/Sock, who were going for their second ATP World Tour team doubles title, will receive 600 Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings points and split $187,970.
Melo said the win was especially meaningful because of the Brazilian support in Miami. “I feel at home, I have to say. Because a lot of Brazilians are here in Miami and in the United States. I love to be here, to play here in the United States, especially Miami,” he said. “When I spoke in Portuguese [during the trophy ceremony], you could see the reaction of the crowd, and most of them could understand a lot of what I said. This makes me play better. For the player, playing at home is better, so I feel at home here.”