Top seeds Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares were made to work in their Nitto ATP Finals opener on Monday as they completed an emphatic comeback to edge past Jurgen Melzer and Edouard Roger-Vasselin.

The 2020 US Open champions have been one of the most dominant pairings since the two veterans joined forces last year, and sealed a successful team debut to win 6-7(6), 6-1, 10-4 in an hour and 23 minutes. 

“I think we played really well throughout the whole match,” said Soares in an on-court interview. “We had a couple of chances in the first set but they served really well. By the end, in the tie-break, Jurgen came up with some match to deserve the set.

“The key point for us was to keep the energy up. We came right away in the second set, playing some good, aggressive tennis with some positive energy and we carried that through to the end of the match.”

Pavic and Soares were nearly untouchable on serve, and they were never broken even as they dropped a close opening set went to Melzer and Roger-Vasselin. After letting three break chances slip away in the first set, Pavic and Soares finally converted in the second set to claim the first break of the match for a 2-0 lead. 

The top seeds found another level as they reeled off five consecutive games to extend their lead to 5-0, and closed out the second set 6-1 to force a Match Tie-break. Fully dialed in, Pavic and Soares barely missed a first serve from the second set onward, combining for 91 per cent of first serves won. They continued the momentum in the decider, claiming six points on the trot to race ahead 8/3 and closed out the victory in an hour and 23 minutes. 

The victory puts Pavic and Soares at the No. 2 spot in Group Bob Bryan right behind fourth seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos, who defeated John Peers and Michael Venus in straight sets earlier in the day to top the group.

“Everybody is in play to be No. 1, depending on the results,” said Pavic in an on-court interview. “I think that gives an extra thing to the tournament and obviously every match is important. We played a good match today, we are happy with the win and hopefully we can keep playing well.”

Source: Tennis – ATP World Tour