Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic made it three titles and 14 matches unbeaten this season after they saw off Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 6-4, 6-4 to win the Australian Open title, their first Grand Slam as a team and their biggest title to date. The Croatian will attempt to go for the double in the mixed doubles tomorrow.
Marach and Pavic break late to go a set ahead
Both Robert Farah and Mate Pavic got the two teams a game on the board with their first service games. Cabal, however, had to fend off the first breakpoint in this final. All square at 30-all, Cabal couldn't find enough width with his serve and was attacked. He made up for it with a serve out wide to bring the game to deuce before holding to edge out in front, 1-2.
For Marach, he struggled hugely on serve. After taking a love-40 lead, the 37-year-old got tight on serve and allowed the Colombians to fashion a break point as he missed a backhand. His backhand, this time, would come to his rescue as he fired a winner to send the game to deuce.
Three more breakpoints would come and go for the 31-year-olds as Marach dug himself out of a hole to draw level at 2-2. The eleventh seeds were holding serve much more comfortable at this point to keep the pressure on their opponents. Pavic and Farah held their the next two service games as Marach who struggled previously, was once again on serve. This time, it was a routine hold to love, 4-4.
Locked at 30-all in the ninth game, the 37-year-old came to the party and fired a forehand winner to bring up a crucial break point. Marach then hit a wonderful backhand return as Cabal sent the return wide with the seventh seeds breaking. Two set points arrived with an ace but only one was needed with the Austrian-Croatian pair winning the set, 6-4.
Austrian-Croatian pair win big title
Cabal began the second set by holding his serve and the Colombians, with the crowd support, began to put the pressure back on Marach with a breakpoint at 30-40. The 37-year-olds booming serve got him out of trouble but a point later found himself a second breakpoint behind. Once again, his big serve did the job as he went on to hold for 1-1.
Level at 30-all, Farah got tight and served up a double-fault before his partner Cabal sent the game to deuce to avoid going further behind in the match. The Colombian pair won the next two points to keep themselves ahead in the set at 1-2. In the next game, the game went to deuce with Farah hitting a sublime lob. But this time, the seventh seeds avoided trouble to hold for 2-2 as all four players held serve.
The four players would then hold their next service game in another tight set as the Colombians aimed to send the game to a final set. But the Austrian-Croatian pairing had other ideas. At 30-all, all players on the court got embroiled in a long rally with the 24-year-old Austrian doing much of the defending as he forced Robert Farah to go long with a mightily important breakpoint arriving, 30-40.
A powerful Pavic forehand produced the error as they broke in the same game as the first for 5-4. Marach, who has struggled on serve for much of the match, played the perfect game, going up love-40 and clinching the title with an unreturnable serve.