Maiden Title Mania in Halle and Queen’s as Klaasen/Ram and Mahut/Herbert win their first ATP level titles as a team
Joe Craven, Tennis Atlantic
It was a week of maiden titles on the ATP doubles tour as both the Halle and Queen’s titles were won by teams who had never won an ATP level title before. Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram were able to capture the title in Halle, whilst Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert were victorious at Queen’s.
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Mahut and Herbert sealed their first ATP level doubles title as a team by beating the team of Nenad Zimonjic and Marcin Matkowski in the final. Even though Mahut and Herbert were seeded lower then their opponents in the Final, the Frenchmen had the advantage going into the match as they played their Semi Final on Friday, whilst Zimonjic and Matkowski had to play theirs on the same day as the Final. Mahut and Herbert only faced three break points against their serve and were able to seal a 6-2 6-2 victory in just 47 minutes.
The pair didn’t drop a set all tournament, notching wins against the teams of Hewitt/Kokkinakis, Anderson/Chardy and Peya/Soares on their way to the Final. This win certainly meant a lot to the Frenchmen and after falling short in both the Australian Open Final earlier on in the year and the s’Hertogenbosch Final last week, Herbert described the win as “a dream”. The 24 year old who had never played at Queen’s Club before this year went on to say that “Everything we did was working. We know that if we play well, it will be difficult for our opponents, so we just focused on what we could do.”. After steady success this year the pair now sit 6th in the doubles race to the ATP World Tour Finals and for Mahut, who had grass court success in singles last week winning s’Hertogenbosch, it’s definitely a target, which the frenchman stating that “We hope to have a good run in the next few weeks, but for sure the goal is to come back to London later this year.”
Herbert will now play in the Wimbledon Singles Qualifying draw, whilst Mahut will have time to prepare for the main draw of both singles and doubles, after being awarded wildcard into the singles competition last week.
The fresh pairing of Klaasen and Ram were able to capture the Halle title on Sunday. Playing only their second ATP level event as a team, they were able to defeat the team of Florin Mergea and Rohan Bopanna 7-6 (5), 6-2 in the final. The road to the Final wasn’t wasn’t easy for the pairing, despite only dropping one set throughout the tournament they had to play a tiebreak in 5 out of the 8 regular sets they played, all of which they won. Klaasen and Ram defeated the teams of Tipsarevic/Tomic, Cuevas/Marrero in the 1st and 2nd rounds respectively, before saving two match points against Rojer/Tecau in the Semi Final.
After only teaming up recently, the team has already flourished, with a Final at the Challenger level in Manchester as well as a Quarter Final in S’Hertogenbosch. It was the first ATP level doubles title for Ram in over 3 years (St Petersburg 2012) who said that the team “started the match a little bit slowly”, however things got easier for the pair as the match went on with Ram going onto explain that “we played very clean [in the second set]. We communicated well and we were ready for our opportunities.” The experience of playing on Centre Court seemed to make Klaasen enjoy the occasion even more, with the South African stating that “Playing on the Centre Court was something special” and that he will “definitely be coming back”.
The pairing will now head straight to the ATP 250 event in Nottingham to continue their preparations for Wimbledon, a tournament which they’ll be confident about doing well in.