By Ros Satar at the World Tour Finals, London
- Jamie Murray/Bruno Soares  def. Bob & Mike Bryan  6-3 6-4
- Dominic Thiem  def. Gael Monfils  6-3 1-6 6-4
LONDON, ENGLAND – The race for No. 1 is still on for Jamie Murray & Bruno Soares as the second seeds racked up a second win at the ATP World Tour Finals.
Jamie Murray/Bruno Soares  def. Bob & Mike Bryan  6-3 6-4
The other race for No. 1 is still alive and well as the reigning Australian Open and US Open champions were in devastating form against the four-time season ending champions. In a competitive first set, no quarter was given at all with the first sniff of a break point on the Bryans’ serve, converted to put Murray and Soares in the driving seat as they served out to love to wrap up the first set.
The Bryans were tested to the limit – the momentum staying with the Brit and Brazilian as they forced the Bryan’s to save three break points right at the start of the second set, before delivering the final blow at the end of the set.
The usually talkative Soares was happy to let Murray field a lot of the questions as he explained: “We certainly played a great match, I mean, from start to finish. Probably one of our best matches of the year. We served really well throughout, cleaned up well on our serves.
“I think we had a good game plan to play against them. We executed it really well. I think we both returned the ball smartly, put it in some difficult spots for them, then were really active around the net.
“I think we’re both super pumped about the win. Should have a good chance to progress further in the tournament now.”
The pair will be hoping for a Treat Huey & Max Mirnyi win later in the evening session, which will guarantee their qualification, but can still qualify if Ivan Dodig & Marcelo Melo win in three sets.
Dominic Thiem  def. Gael Monfils  6-3 1-6 6-4
After suffering first round losses on their debut, of course the beauty of the format is that there us still a chance to scramble into the semi-finals while the two round one winners do battle for supremacy later.
Both have had issues coming into the tournament. Dominic Thiem has almost played himself into the ground and there is always a danger that the ‘just happy to bear here’ mentality gets in the way of performance, but the Austrian really showed some nimble footwork, quickly taking advantage of Gael Monfils’ lack of conditioning to step up into the set.
The Frenchman admitted that he still could have done with some time to prepare and that he already felt sore after his first round with Milos Raonic. In a twist (possibly quite literally) Monfils was hobbling as Thiem duly put paid to his set points for the first set.
Despite a fair bit of grimacing, just short of a Gallic shrug by the Frenchman at the change of ends, Monfils doggedly tried to find the kind of range that would stretch the young Austrian, after not much was going right for him at all in the first set.
Experience pays at times like these – and maybe the sight of Monfils hobbling a little threw Thiem off his game – the Frenchman made the most of Thiem beginning to fall away, as he swiftly jumped out to a 3-0 lead. Gone was the limp but what had returned was the erratic side-swipe from the Austrian as the set rapidly ran away from him.
Finally he stopped the rot with a break of his own, as neither player seemed capable of hanging onto their serve. The double break cushion served the Frenchman well, as he claimed the second set with a flourish, forcing a decider.
It was a solid final set with both playing very competitively but Thiem was the one to step up the pressure – he failed to convert on three break point chances but made no mistake a couple of games later, breaking for the match.
There was not much that Monfils could say, apart from admitting that his fitness was still an issue, and we have to assume that at this juncture his debut here in London is at an end.
For Thiem though this has been a credible stat, with him taking his first set off Novak Djokovic, and now notching his maiden win.
“I think it was a decent first match. Also today I had a good start. I tried to avoid the mistake I did in the first match: to drop a little bit. Didn’t really happen that good.
But I was trying to stay tough in the third set. At the end, of course, he helped me a little bit with the three double-faults. But I’m very happy with the win.”
Thiem will face Raonic on Thursday in what could be a winner-takes-all encounter for the semi-finals.
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