Second seeds Henri Kontinen and John Peers will have their chance to defend their Nitto ATP World Tour Finals title they won 12 months ago as they defeated home favorites Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares 7-6(2), 6-2 in 78 minutes. They will face the top seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo.
Kontinen/Peers storm through tiebreaker to win the opening set
The opening two games despite going with the server looked to be a tight affair. All square and with the second seeds ahead in the game, Murray/Soares forced a deciding deuce point via a Kontinen double-fault. The Brit who elected to receive was on the receiving end of a huge, aggressive second serve with the Finn coming away unscathed, 2-1.
It was the second seeds who were looking the sharper of the two pairs as the set progressed winning more than 90% of their first serves while the Brit/Brazilian pair struggled on return, making just one on first return points thus far.
Neither had converted on breakpoint yet but the biggest test would come for the fourth seeds serving to stay in the match. Four straight points and excellent returning from the second seeds brought up set points. However, the home favorites did their battling best to save all four and come away to earn a tiebreaker.
Kontinen/Peers dominated the breaker, breaking twice at 3-2 and 4-2 for a 5-2 lead. An excellent first serve down the middle was returned into the net as four more set points came for the defending champions. At the fifth time of asking, it was job done, claiming the opener.
Kontinen/Peers open up a gap and pull away to reach another final
Up a set and seemingly in control now, the second seeds put Murray/Soares under immediate pressure by earning a breakpoint at 30-40. A high-quality return from the Australian gave he and the Finn the perfect start to the set.
The 29-year-old backed it up by holding serve impressively to 15 for a 2-0 lead. Bruno Soares held his serve to put he and Jamie Murray on the scoreboard in the third game, still chasing a huge task to force a third.
The team of Kontinen/Peers continued to cause all sorts of problems to their opponents with powerful hitting, rock-solid defense, and near-perfect serving while Murray/Soares failed to bring their constant energy to their net play. The fourth seeds also struggle on return, largely due to the second seeds overpowering serves on both the first and second serve.
This seemed to help the second seeds break for the second time to go up a double-break at 5-2 in the set and effectively end the contest. A game later at 15-40, Kontinen's constant big serve brought up match points which were put away with Peers forcing the error at the net.