Marcel Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer kept alive their semi-final hopes at the Nitto ATP Finals Tuesday when they moved past seventh seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos 6-1, 6-7(3), 10-7 in Turin.
The third seeds made a flying start in the Red Group clash, crushing returns and closing the net sharply to clinch the opening set in just 22 minutes. The pair then held its nerve in the Match Tie-break to triumph after 87 minutes.
“[The fast start] was one of the keys to the match,” said Rojer afterwards. “We obviously lost our first-round match, and as everybody knows, matches are very difficult to win here. Everybody obviously plays so well, and the margins are so small. We wanted to come off to an aggressive start. That doesn’t always mean you’re going to do it, but I think that helped us a lot because then we could settle into the match.
“We used some other plays and tried some other things when we were far ahead in the first set that we thought could come in handy later in the match, so that was one of the keys to the match, to try to get a fast start if we could. We did, and again, just small margins out there. Those guys are tough, righty-lefty, both great players, just really happy to come through.”
Arevalo and Rojer now hold a 1-1 record in the Red Group, having lost to Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara in their opening match. The Salvadoran-Dutch team will face second seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury in their final round-robin match on Thursday.
In their first ATP Head2Head meeting against Granollers and Zeballos, the Salvadoran-Dutch team fired seven aces and won 87 per cent (39/45) of their first-service points to improve to 39-21 on the season.
Rojer is aiming to win his second Nitto ATP Finals crown, having triumphed in London in 2015 with Horia Tecau. Arevalo is the first Central American player to compete in singles or doubles in the tournament’s 53-year history.
“I’m extremely happy. I know what it took to get here, first of all, and to win a match here is so important, for me, for my country, for the team,” said Arevalo. “[I’m] super happy, super excited. Especially the way that the match ended up, it was super close.
“A few points here and there that we were able to win in those important moments, key moments. We got the lead and basically, the difference was one point. That point that we got the mini-break at 5/5, that point was so important and we kept doing what we were doing.”
Earlier this year, the pair won the Roland Garros crown, while they also lifted tour-level trophies in Dallas, Delray Beach and Stockholm.
Granollers and Zeballos, who reached the semi-finals as a team in Turin last year, are now 0-2 in the Red Group, having fallen to Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury earlier this week.
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