Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini came from behind to defeat the top seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 2-6, 6-2, 10-7 at the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters. The Italians will now face Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus after they gained a walkover into the quarterfinals.
Top seeds make the perfect start
Kubot and Melo got off to the perfect start with a hold of serve to love. On the Bolelli service game, Kubot got the better of the Italian during a mini-rally after he sent a forehand into the net as he attempted to go down the line to fall behind two breakpoints.
The 32-year-old sent yet another forehand into the net as he and Fognini fell 0-2 behind. The top seeds continued their fast start by consolidating to 15 to make it 0-3. The unseeded pair eventually held serve in the fourth game after saving a breakpoint on deciding deuce point.
The Italians then had their chance on deciding deuce point in the next game but an unreturnable serve from the Brazilian did the job to send he and his Polish partner 1-4 up. The Italian pairing then held just their second game of the set to make it 2-4 before Kubot and Melo made it 2-5 and forced their unseeded opponents to stay in the set.
However, the two-time Grand Slam champions raced away to a love-40 lead following a mishit from Bolelli at the net. The top seeds clinched the set 2-6 in the next point with Melo intercepting at the net following a rally from Fognini and Kubot.
Italians fight back to force a deciding set
Just as in the first set, the top seeds started out by holding their opening game to love. This time, the Italians followed suit to love for 1-1 early in the second set. The unseeded pair started to get a foot in the match and at 15-30, Fognini's consecutive lob over the 35-year-old brought up three break points.
The Brazilian-Polish pair saved the first breakpoint but the Italians broke with the 30-year-old attacking the Kubot serve and finishing off the point with an accidental forehand into the body of the Brazilian.
The top seeds then aimed to get the match back on track by bringing up two break back points at 30-40 with Fognini netting and then smashing his racket on the floor in frustration. Both breakpoints were saved with a serve and volley followed by a volley winner by Bolelli to make it 3-1.
Both held their next service games with the 2015 Australian Open champions still ahead at 4-2. Having turned the match around, Bolelli and Fognini continued to perform and ran away to a love-40 lead, earning four break point chance. But, the pair only needed the one chance thanks to Bolelli's forehand winner. A second consecutive love hold game gave the unseeded pair the set, 6-2.
Bolelli and Fognini dump the top seeds out
The first four points went on serve with the deciding set breaker level at 2-2. In the fifth point, Fognini intercepted a mini-rally between Kubot and Bolelli to put away a volley at the net to break and make it 3-2.
They won the next point for 4-2 but the sixth game went the way of Kubot and Melo to go a point behind at 4-3. Serving to level the breaker, the veteran Brazilian sent a simple overhead volley straight into the net to fall behind 5-3.
He and Melo though would win the next point for 5-4. The Brazilian-Polish duo broke back in the tenth game to draw level at 5-5 and send the game back on serve. The next five games also continued on serve with the Italians ahead 8-7.
With Kubot serving, Fognini immediately put him under pressure which forced a slice volley to be skied as two match points arrived. Still on serve, Kubot netted an excellent Bolelli forehand return with the unseeded pair winning the match.