Dutchmen Battle To First Team Title
Gilles Simon entered the Tata Open Maharashtra doubles final looking to complete the tournament sweep after winning his first ATP World Tour singles title since 2015 earlier Saturday. A victory with Pierre-Hugues Herbert would have made Simon the first player to win both events at India’s ATP World Tour 250 tournament since Xavier Malisse in 2007.
But Robin Haase and Matwe Middelkoop spoiled the French party, winning their first title as a team in a back-and-forth thriller, 7-6(5), 7-6(5).
“To play the final there with three unbelievable athletes, it’s an honour to play there,” Middelkoop said. “I will never forget this for the rest of my life. This is my fifth title and I will come back here next year because you have to experience this. They’re celebrating tennis and this is what I like. Great crowd.”
It was Middelkoop’s fifth doubles title with three different partners, and Haase’s third doubles title, also with three different partners. Haase, who is the top Dutch singles player in the ATP Rankings at No. 42, had not won a doubles title since 2014 Gstaad (w/ Andre Begemann).
“The score was actually how the match was. Sometimes you can have a close match, but you feel you are better,” Haase said. “Today we didn’t feel so much better, that’s for sure.”
In fact, the Frenchmen were up a break in both sets, and served for the second set immediately after breaking for a 5-3 lead. However, after fending off one break point at 30/40— earning a set point, but also facing a second break point — they were unable to hold their lead.
And after the Dutchmen — who will be playing together full-time in 2018 after partnering for the first time at the tour level in Flushing Meadows, where they advanced to the quarter-finals — gained a 5/1 lead in the ensuing tie-break, they closed the match out on their second match point.
“Just to play those points, and we even talked to the other guys already a little bit,” Haase said. “We all enjoyed the match. Every point was great, almost.”
Haase and Middelkoop earned 250 ATP Rankings points and a share of $27,170, while Herbert and Simon captured 150 points each as well as a split of $14,280.