ATP Rome: Herbert/Mahut win their first title of the year against Dodig/Granollers

At the Internazionali BNL d'Italia on the Pietrangeli court, Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut prevailed 4-6, 6-3, 10-3 against Ivan Dodig and Marcel Granollers to clinch the title. 

Dodig/Granollers come from a break down to seal the opener

The final got underway rather slowly with all four players on the court holding their serves and doing so confidently with the score now at 2-2. Dodig and then Herbert also held serve to love with the server dominating the final early in the first set.

The first break point of the match went the way of the fourth seeds, who showed some excellent defense at the net before Mahut finished the point with a volley winner to bring the game to a deciding point. The French pair broke for 4-3 in the next game with Herbert dinking a dropshot into the court as Dodig failed to pick up, which was skied.

Marcel Granollers and Ivan Dodig during Madrid Masters (Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Marcel Granollers and Ivan Dodig during Madrid Masters (Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The eighth seeds immediately fought back to gain three break points showing tremendous angle, aggression with the volley and putting away a backhand return with confident. The Croat/Spaniard restored parity almost emphatically to get the game back on track at 4-4 celebrating with a low-key Bryan-esque chest bump.

The pair completely turned around the match by consolidating in the fifth game to 15 to now lead 4-5 in the opener. Up 30-15, the Croat/Spanish pairing picked up a set point with Herbert netting a stretching volley. Once again, the 26-year-old found the net as the eighth seeds grabbed the set, 4-6. 

Herbert/Mahut fight back to level the match

Down a set, Herbert/Mahut lost the first point with sharp movement from the Spaniard but won the next four in a row to bring up three break point almost instantly following a shank by the 32-year-old Croatian. The French broke to begin the set in the right manner, 1-0.

Mahut backed the break up by holding serve comfortably and confidently to take a 2-0 lead with the momentum shifting to the French pair who also had a spring in their step. The 31-year-old Spaniard held serve with the help of his Croatian partner to hold, get on the scoreboard and stay just the break behind, 2-1.

Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut celebrate winning a point (Photo: Icon Photo)
Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut celebrate winning a point (Photo: Icon Photo)

Herbert held a tricky service game to take a 3-1 lead. Down 15-30, Granollers once more showed great movement but hit the net with a volley as the French pair brought up three more break points. The Croatian/Spaniard pairing then dug in to deny the fourth seeds any chance of breaking by saving thrice break points to stay in touch at 3-2.

For the remainder of the set, both teams were holding their service games quite comfortable with the set nearing its climax at 5-4 on the Mahut serve. The French team played a fantastic game, going up love-40 and reaching set point. A solid first serve saw Granollers net the return with the fourth seeds drawing the match level at one set apiece.

Herbert/Mahut run away with the match tiebreaker to win the match and the title

The first three points of the tiebreaker went with the serve as the scores went in favour of Herbert/Mahut at 2-1. The eighth seeds then lost serve on the fourth point with Dodig sending a volley wide of the mark. The pair then were broken for a second time, going down 4-1 in the breaker. The French lost the serve the next point with the Croat/Spaniard picking up just their second point.

Pierre-Hugues Herbert strikes a volley (Photo: Icon Photo)
Pierre-Hugues Herbert strikes a volley (Photo: Icon Photo)

With two serves no their side, the eighth seeds were broken for the third time to go down 6-2. They managed to win their third point but the French only grew stronger in the breaker. From that moment on, Herbert/Mahut won the next six points to clinch the title including twice at the end on the Dodig/Granollers serve. 

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