Murray/Soares Stay Alive In London
Last year, Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares were perfect in group play at the Nitto ATP Finals before falling in the semi-finals. But after losing a tough opener this season, they were in jeopardy of not making the semi-finals at all.
"Now it's a normal tournament. If we win, we keep going forward. If we lose, we're on holidays," Murray said. "We played a great match. We've got a good chance on Friday to progress further in the tournament.
It may have been the first meeting between the two teams, but Murray and Soares certainly made a strong first impression, eliminating Dodig and Granollers from semi-final contention.
Murray was flying around the net in the early exchanges, poaching with swinging forehand volleys, while Soares put on a masterclass from the baseline, working his own way to the net where he too put on a show for the fans at The O2.
Murray and Soares won more than double the number of points in the match, never giving their opponents much of a chance. They broke Dodig in his first service game in each set, and ran away with it from there.
While the Croatian saved two break points from 0/40 at 1-1 in the second set, he could not fight off a third. Soares masterfully placed a return at Dodig’s feet, before taking the server’s reply and lobbing it over Granollers head, forcing the Spaniard into an error.
Murray and Soares, who secured the 2016 year-end No. 1 spot in the Emirates ATP Doubles Team Rankings in London, claimed 17 of the match’s final 21 points to gather plenty of momentum before their final round-robin match against the top-seeded pair of Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo, who with a 2-0 record have already secured their spot in the semi-finals. Kubot and Melo clinched this season's year-end No. 1 Emirates ATP Doubles Team Ranking with their opening win Monday
"We played them quite a few times this year. It's always been close. Two of the matches have been close. Look, it's going to be difficult. They played a lot of great tennis since, like, March, won a bunch of tournaments, obviously feeling confident with their game," Murray said. "I think we're a great team. If we play our best, I think we're better than them. We might not win, but I'm still going to back us."