Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic booked their spot in the second round at the BNP Paribas Open with a 7-6(4), 6-3 victory over Steve Johnson and Daniel Nestor.
Third seeds grab opening set via tiebreaker
The match began with three of the four players holding their serve pretty comfortably. However, on the Marach service game, Nestor/Johnson grabbed the first breakpoints of the game at 15-40. But the Austrian managed to come through to level at 2-2 with all four players holding.
Johnson and Nestor continued to put pressure on the third seeds and after holding serve, the American hit a forehand winner to earn a breakpoint opportunity at 30-40 in the fifth game. At their fourth attempt, they broke to take a 2-4 lead.
But they were in danger of gifting the break straight back as a forehand winner from Marach sent the game to a deciding point. The veteran Canadian pulled through to make it 2-5. The Austrian-Croatian pairing started their comeback by holding serve in the eighth game for 3-5.
The third seeds then grabbed triple break points and though they had two break points saved, they broke back and Pavic consolidated to for 5-5. The 45-year-old and 37-year-old both held their service games to send the game to a tiebreaker. Marach and Pavic got the only break of the breaker at 5-3 before going on to seal the set with an Austrian winner, 7-6(4).
Marach and Pavic pull through to progress
Almost immediately, Johnson/Nestor found themselves two breakpoints behind in the opening game of the second set. Marach's serve sent the game to a deciding point before winning the next point and holding for 1-0. Just like the opening set, all four players held their opening service games to level the set at 2-2.
The Austrian held his serve to love to lead 3-2. He then forced the Canadian veteran to hit a volley into the net as he and Pavic picked up triple breakpoints. Johnson's attempted lob went long off the baseline to concede the break before smashing a ball out the stadium in frustration.
But he put that behind him as he and Nestor came from 15-40 behind to send the game to a deciding point. But Johnson once again became frustrated as he sent a forehand long to fall 5-2 behind against the third seeds.
All Nestor could do was hold his serve to force the Australian Open champions to serve for the match at 5-3. Following a mini-rally, the third seeds gained a match point with an overhead volley thanks to Marach. The Austrian then finished the set 6-3 and the match to advance.