Dimitrov/Goffin Combine For Doubles Success
Five months ago, Grigor Dimitrov and David Goffin faced each other in the most important match of their careers in the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals championship match. On Monday, they put their singles rivalry aside, partnering for the first time in their careers to beat Frenchmen Adrian Mannarino and Fabrice Martin 7-6(3), 6-2 in 75 minutes at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.
The Bulgarian-Belgian pairing had never played doubles with or against each other at any professional level, and Goffin, who had not played doubles since last April, owned just a 4-20 record in the discipline. So perhaps it was not a surprised when the team of singles stars trailed 3-0 in the opening set, but they battled back from there. A break in the seventh game reset the balance and Dimitrov/Goffin grew in confidence from there, taking a one-set advantage after an impressive tie-break.
With the freedom of a one-set cushion, Dimitrov and Goffin improved in the second set, winning 100 per cent (10/10) of points behind their first serves and converting on each of their two break point opportunities to reach the second round. They will face eighth seeds Ivan Dodig and Rajeev Ram for a spot in the quarter-finals.
Alexander Zverev ensured there was a third Top 10 singles representative in the second round, teaming up with brother Mischa Zverev to beat Andres Molteni and Diego Schwartzman 6-2, 4-6, 10/8. The Zverevs won four consecutive games from 2-2 in the first set, but Molteni and Schwartzman replied in style, dropping just seven service points in the second set to reach a Match Tie-break.
From there, the Germans took control, establishing a 9/6 lead before securing the 76-minute win on their third match point. The Zverev brothers will meet Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic, who have won three tour-level titles this year (Doha, Auckland, Australian Open) in the second round.
Pablo Cuevas and Marcel Granollers also emerged victorious in a decisive Match Tie-break, beating Damir Dzumhur and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi 6-2, 3-6, 10-6 in 81 minutes. Cuevas, who won the title alongside Rohan Bopanna in 2017, looked to be cruising alongside Granollers at 6-2, 2-0, but were forced the distance by the alternates before booking a second-round meeting with 2016 champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.
Monaco's Romain Arneodo and Hugo Nys defeated Santiago Gonzalez and Ben McLachlan 6-4, 7-6(2). The wild cards, who reached the semi-finals in 2017 (l. to Bopanna/Cuevas), saved both break points they faced in the 89-minute contest.