ATP Rome: Ivan Dodig/Marcel Granollers book spot in final with straight sets win

Eighth-seeded Ivan Dodig and Marcel Granollers defeated the number one seeds Henri Kontinen and John Peers 6-3, 6-3 to advance to the Internazionali BNL d'Italia final. 

Dodig/Granollers break twice to win the first set

The match got underway with all four players holding their opening service games quite comfortable with the scores level at 2-2. The fifth game was dominated by unforced errors and then a double fault from the Finn as he and Peers fell behind four break points. In the next point, Dodig sent a backhand wide as he attempted to go down the line with the world number one team saving the first break point.

After the 26-year-old first serve, the Spaniard took full control by playing the ball back into the court for Kontinen to fire straight to Dodig who put away the volley to break for 3-2. Kontinen and Peers then showed resilience battling to gain two break back points with the Croatian serving up a double fault. The eighth seeds managed to save the first break point with Kontinen attempting to intercept and play a volley back but hit straight into the net, 40-40.

Ivan Dodig and Marcel Granollers in action at the Madrid Masters (Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Ivan Dodig and Marcel Granollers in action at the Madrid Masters (Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Dodig/Granollers also won the deciding point with a pinpoint volley from the 31-year-old to hold serve and for a 4-2 lead. The Aussie and Spaniard both held their next serves with the score at 5-3 in favour of the eighth seeds who were now serving for the opener.

The eighth seeds managed to stay in touch with the Aussie/Finnish in the next game, drawing level at 30-all before Dodig attacked Peers at the net who couldn't deal with the power and ended up netting as a break/set point arrived. Marcel Granollers tucked away a neat forehand to finish off the set and go ahead, 6-3.  

Lone break enough to clinch a final spot

Having won the first set, Dodig/Granollers were in danger of falling behind early on in the second. They took a love-30 lead but soon found themselves pegged back at 30-all with the 32-year-old first hitting a double fault and then an unforced error. Following an exchange of shots, Granollers moved towards the middle of the net and the Aussie anticipated that move and fired a forehand down the line to bring up double break point opportunities.

The Aussie failed to capitalize on a poor first serve as his return hit the net with the game heading to a deciding point. This time, Dodig's serve came to his rescue with he and Granollers holding a tricky game to begin the set. For the top seeds, they found it much easier, holding to 30 for 1-1.

Marcel Granollers his a return with Ivan Dodig watching on (Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Marcel Granollers his a return with Ivan Dodig watching on (Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Up a set and having survived the opening game, Dodig/Granollers were holding serve much easier and did so to go 2-1 up in the second early doors. Having struggled on serve for most of the match, the top seeds found themselves in trouble, going down 15-40 and facing three break points. First time of asking, the eighth seeds broke for 3-1 with Granollers attacking a poor second serve and scorching a backhand winner.

A hold to love gave them a healthy 4-1 lead as the top seeds faced an uphill task. The next three games went with serve and the Croat/Spaniard were left serving for the match at 5-3. Once again, they would take an easy love-40 lead, playing sublime tennis and overpowering their opponents. They had one match point saved but converted on their second to book a spot in the final, 6-3.