Kontinen/Peers Close In On No. 1 With Shanghai Crown
Better late than never. One year after coming up just short of lifting the trophy, Henri Kontinen and John Peers have their title at the Shanghai Rolex Masters.
Top seeds Kontinen and Peers defeated second seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 6-4, 6-2 to emerge victorious in Shanghai, claiming their second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title as a team. The Finnish-Aussie duo had fallen to John Isner and Jack Sock in last year's final, but needed just 69 minutes to dispatch Kubot and Melo on Sunday.
Kontinen and Peers have enjoyed great success on Chinese soil this month, having captured the title at the China Open in Beijing last week. Now riding a seven-match win streak, they move to within 360 points of Kubot and Melo for the top spot in the Emirates ATP Doubles Race To London. Both teams have already punched their tickets to the Nitto ATP Finals.
"Winning matches one by one and then obviously in the end winning the title, that's great," said Kontinen. "To do it back to back, last week in Beijing and then here. Losing the final last year and now getting it, yeah, that's the most pleasing part for me."
Kontinen and Peers were overwhelming off the ground in Sunday's final. A quick break for 2-1 set the tone in the first set, as the Finn struck a forehand winner to edge ahead. Kubot and Melo did well to escape from a 0/40 deficit two games later, but were unable to dent their opponents' serves.
A Peers smash at the net earned the top seeds the decisive break for 3-2 in the second set and Kontinen would later strike down an ace to seal the victory.
"I felt the biggest difference is we've learnt how to sort of play better and more consistently in the bigger matches and the bigger tournaments," Peers said. "This year we've done that a lot better, and that's been the biggest challenge for us was to consistently perform well in the big events. And for us, to be able to do it this year, has been really great so far. That's the challenge for us still coming the rest of the year, to keep performing in the biggest events."
Kontinen and Peers improved to a staggering 9-1 as a team in tour-level finals. They are now 4-0 in 2017, adding to triumphs at the Australian Open and at the ATP World Tour 500 events in Washington and Beijing. It was their second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 victory as well, having previously prevailed in Paris last year.
Individually, Kontinen won his 17th doubles title and Peers captured his 15th. They split $352,060 in prize money and extend their FedEx ATP Head2Head lead to 3-1 over their Polish-Brazilian rivals.
Meanwhile, Kubot and Melo were appearing in their 11th final as a team (7-4). They share $352,060 in prize money and 600 Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings points.