It's Murray/Soares vs. Nestor/Stepanek
Murray/Soares down Mannarino/Pouille; will face Nestor/Stepanek in Aussie final
No. 7 seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, playing just their third event as a team, rolled into the Australian Open final on Thursday in Melbourne Park, defeating Frenchmen Adrian Mannarino and Lucas Pouille 6-3, 6-1.
Mannarino/Pouille, who two days earlier had scalped top seeds Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau in the quarter-finals, would flinch first as action got underway in Rod Laver Arena. Serving at 2-3 in the opening set, they were broken at love as the Briton-Brazilian combo surged ahead to take the stanza in 32 minutes.
Murray/Soares didn’t waste time taking control of the second set, service breaks coming in the first, fifth and seventh games to seal the speedy 56-minute win. They were four for six in break-point conversions, and finished with 19 winners to six unforced errors. Murray and Soares kicked off their 2016 campaign by reaching the semis in Doha (l. to Feliciano Lopez/Marc Lopez), before taking the title in Sydney (d. Rohan Bopanna/Florin Mergea).
"To go out there and win 6-3, 6-1 gives us extra confidence for the final," said Soares. "We cannot ask for anything more. We played almost a perfect match.
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"We came here feeling good, playing seven matches and winning one title. The conditions in Sydney are similar to Melbourne so we had a good feeling about this week. We knew we could do well. I hope we can do one more."
“I'm starting a new journey with Bruno here and it’s been a great two weeks for us," said Murray. "If we win one more match we can get over the final hurdle.
"You come into a new partnership with great intentions. Everyone wants to do great things. It doesn't always work out that way. But for us, from the first match we played we felt really comfortable on the court together. I seemed to really understand what Bruno was trying to do on the court. His strengths matched up pretty well with mine."
Jamie Murray and Andy Murray are the first brothers in the Open Era to reach the semi-finals in both the men’s singles and men’s doubles events at the Australian Open.
Their opponents in the final will be veterans Daniel Nestor and Radek Stepanek, who upset No. 16 seeds Pablo Cuevas and Marcel Granollers 7-6(11), 6-4 in one hour and 42 minutes.
The Canadian-Czech combo saved three set points in a wild first-set tie-break, and opened the second set with their second and final break of the afternoon. They won 36 of 47 (77%) of their first-serve points and totaled 20 winners.
Earlier this month in Sydney, Nestor, into his 26th season on the ATP World Tour, became the first player to reach the 1,000-win mark in doubles. He has eight men’s Grand Slam doubles titles on his resume. The 43-year-old Canadian will attempt to add a ninth on Saturday against Murray/Soares.