Second seeds Jurgen Melzer and Edouard Roger-Vasselin captured their first team title on Sunday at the St. Petersburg Open, defeating Marcelo Demoliner and Matwe Middelkoop 6-2, 7-6(4) to lift the ATP 500 trophy.
The Austrian-French team has now soared into contention in the FedEx ATP Battle For London with the 500 FedEx ATP Doubles Ranking points they earned with their efforts in Russia. Both players have competed in the prestigious season finale with different partners, but they are trying to earn a spot at The O2 in London in their first season as a pair.
“We had a talk exactly this week last year and we decided to try to play the 2020 season,” Melzer said. “I’m happy that with four tournaments left, we still have a chance to go to London. That was our goal when we started the year and it’s still possible, so I’m very happy about that.”
Melzer and Roger-Vasselin first played together at the 2012 Winston-Salem Open, when they both still focussed on singles. They didn’t compete as a team again until last year’s Rolex Paris Masters and this year they have played together exclusively.
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The second seeds rallied from a set down in the quarter-finals and the semi-finals, but they weren’t pushed to a Match Tie-break in the championship match. Melzer and Roger-Vasselin won 81 per cent of their second-serve points in the final, only losing one point behind their second delivery in the second set. On clay, they switched returning sides, with Roger-Vasselin taking the ad side. But this week the Frenchman went back to the deuce side, which paid dividends.
“It’s all about communication. When we started together, we both knew we were good players,” Roger-Vasselin said. “We know each other very well on the court. We know what’s going to work, what’s not going to work. So this is why we know exactly what is the best for us to perform.”
Melzer and Roger-Vasselin broke four times from nine opportunities to triumph after one hour and 19 minutes. They saved three of the five break points they faced to earn 500 points each and a split of $35,750.
Demoliner and Middelkoop fell short of winning their third ATP Tour title as a team, but they leave St. Petersburg with 300 points and a share of $28,410.