Murray/Soares Claim Aussie Open Title In 1am Finish
Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares survived a valiant effort from Daniel Nestor and Radek Stepanek to claim their first Grand Slam doubles titles Saturday at the Australian Open.
Murray and Soares converted on their third championship point at 12:58am local time in Melbourne to clinch the crown 2-6, 6-4, 7-5. For 29-year-old Murray, it was his first major title in his third straight final, following defeats alongside John Peers at Wimbledon and the US Open. For 33-year-old Soares, it was also his first title, having previously fallen in the 2013 US Open final with Alexander Peya.
"I think when you get up there, you realise what you've done and you want to thank everyone that's been with you along in the journey," said Murray. "It hasn't always been rosy for me. A lot of ups and downs in my career.
"Thankfully things have started to really pick up in the last year or so. I had Louis with me on and off, but for 10 years. He's the guy that made it happen for me to have success on the doubles court. He really believed that I could do great things. It took me a lot longer to realize it."
The Scot and the Brazilian stormed back after dropping the first set 6-2. After drawing level at a set apiece, they would secure a break for 3-2 in the decider and served for the title four games later. But an inspired Nestor saved a match point with a rifled return and the Canadian-Czech duo would convert on their third break point to pull level at 5-all.
Murray and Soares would not be denied, however, claiming eight of the next 11 points to break back immediately and serve out the match. They sealed the win after two hours and 19 minutes as Soares fired a wide serve to Nestor's forehand that found the bottom of the net.
With brother Andy, who is set to face Novak Djokovic in the singles final later on Sunday, in attendance for the trophy presentation, Jamie quipped, "Andy you should be in bed, don't know why you're here taking photos."
The new partnership is off to a roaring start following a semi-final run at the season-opening ATP World Tour 250 event in Doha and a first team title a week later in Sydney. They earned 2,000 Emirates ATP Rankings points and split $650,000 in prize money with the title in Melbourne.
Murray and Soares became the first doubles team to win a Grand Slam title in their first major together since Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock won Wimbledon on debut in 2014. It marks the fifth straight year there has been a different doubles champion at the Australian Open. In addition, Soares is just the second Brazilian man to win a Grand Slam men's doubles title after Marcelo Melo, who prevailed at Roland Garros 2015.
"I think when you accept a partnership, when he invited me, it's because I already believed we could do great things," said Soares. "I think we're at a stage that we're playing for these tournaments, we're playing for the big ones. I think we're both ready and playing on a high level to win the big ones.
"Once you commit to start playing with somebody new, that's what you have in mind. It was very, very fast to win in Sydney and here back-to-back. We put in the work. We kept in touch in December. We were working really hard. I told Jamie, it was my best pre-season for the last five or six years. I was feeling really good. I was moving really well. With all the matches we got before here, I thought that we were playing some good tennis and we really had a shot here."
Nestor was bidding to claim his ninth Grand Slam crown and second at the Australian Open. He previously won in 2002 with Mark Knowles. Two-time major titlist Stepanek was looking to lift his second trophy in Melbourne Park in five years, following his run to the title with Leander Paes in 2012.