ATP World Tour Finals: Kontinen/Peers defeat Herbert/Mahut to maintain unbeaten start

Henri Kontinen and John Peers defeated Pierre-Hugues Herbert andNicolas Mahut in three sets. They lost the opening set on a tiebreaker before going on to win the next two to stay unbeaten.

ATP World Tour Finals: Kontinen/Peers defeat Herbert/Mahut to maintain unbeaten start
Henri Kontinen and John Peers celebrate defeating Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut (Photo: Glyn Kirk/Getty Images)
Kontinen/Peers
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Herbert/Mahut

At the ATP World Tour Finals the fifth seeds Henri Kontinen and John Peers had two wins from two to make it a perfect three in the Mcenroe/Fleming group as they defeated Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut 6-7(5), 6-4, 10-4. 

This win meant that Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares clinched the world number one ranking. But for Mahut, he awaits a nervous finish to see if he can end the year as the individual number one. 

Herbert/Mahut rally to win the first set on tiebreaker

In the opening game, Herbert and Mahut were put under some immediate pressure. Good cover at the net and great serving from the French duo brought the game to deuce before Herbert finished off the game and held.

The French team started positively and Herbert's return caught the baseline to bring up a double break point chance. The Fin, Aussie pair managed to bring the game to deuce. However, the 25-year-old struck a winning blow to get the break and go 0-2 up early on. Mahut held his serve pretty comfortably as the then world number one pair took a 0-3 lead.

Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut celebrate winning the first set (Photo: Glyn Kirk/Getty Images)
Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut celebrate winning the first set (Photo: Glyn Kirk/Getty Images)

From that moment on, both teams traded breaks right up until the eighth game. Serving for the set 3-5, the French duo got nervous. Having had two set points saved, Herbert then hit a double-fault to bring the fifth seeds right back into the set. They made sure they took their chances by holding to love and levelling at 5-5.

Both teams held serve to set up a tiebreaker. Herbert and Mahut levelled at 2-2 in the breaker before going on to win the next four points to bring up several set points. Kontinen and Peers saved three out of the four set points but after a return from Herbert, the fifth seeds decided to leave and the ball landed in handing the French the set, 6-7(5). 

Kontinen/Peers grab late break; wins the second set

Both teams started the second set by holding serve. In the third game, However, Herbert hit a volley return to force the error and bring up two break points at 15-40. The fifth seeds then dug in to save three break points as they went back infront at 2-1. Both teams then started to settle down on serve but the French pair were continually being put under pressure.

John Peers returns to Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut (Photo: Glyn Kirk/Getty Images)
John Peers returns to Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut (Photo: Glyn Kirk/Getty Images)

Their biggest task came in the tenth game. Down 5-4, Herbert's serve shut down as he hit a double-fault to present the fifth seeds with a set point. Kontinen and Peers then took charge of the next point and forced the error as Herbert missed a relatively easy follow. The second set went the way of the Finn, Aussie as the match went to the deciding set tiebreaker. 

Kontinen/Peers run away with breaker; maintain 100% win record

The fifth seeds Kontinen/Peers didn't waste any time in the breaker as in quick time, they raced away to a 5-1. Herbert and Mahut thought they had been let back into the match at 5-3 but the fifth-seeded pair kept their cool and went further ahead to reach match point at 9-4 thanks to a volley winner from John Peers.

Henri Kontinen and John Peers shake hands with Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut (Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Henri Kontinen and John Peers shake hands with Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut (Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images)

They needed only one chance to seal the match and end the round robin stage unbeaten. This win meant that the pair hadn't lost in eight matches going back to the Swiss Indoors almost three weeks ago when Nicolas Mahut partnered with another Frenchie, Edouard Roger-Vasselin as they lost in straight sets on that occasion. They will now meet the Bryan Brothers for a place in the final.