By Ros Satar, in Cincinnati
- Jamie Murray/Bruno Soares  def. Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah 4-6 6-3 10-6
- First Masters 1000 title for Murray & Soares as a pairing, in four attempts
CINCINNATI, USA – Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares bookended their US Open Series warm-up events before the US Open with winning their first Masters 1000 title as a pairing.
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Jamie Murray/Bruno Soares  def. Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah 4-6 6-3 10-6
It was a quick start for Jamie Murray & Bruno Soares, in a fifth match up against the Colombian paring of Juan Sebastian Cabal & Robert Farah. Quickly jumping out to a 3-1 lead but struggling to close out on their four additional break point chances for a double break cushion.
With Cabal & Farah grabbing back the break mid set, they held to take the lead once more for the first time since winning the opening game. They might have been slow to start but their rate picked up as the confidently broke for the set.
Facing a task in their fourth Masters final, yet to convert to hardware, Murray and Soares fended off a break point early in the second set to go ahead once more, and this time they were the ones to break once more at the end of the set to level things up.
Not necessarily a huge fan of the Match Tie-breaks since they came in, a quick lead for Murray and Soares soon evaporated as Cabal and Farah re-kindled some of their first set fire to swiftly build up a 4-2 lead. With a few more mini-breaks given and received, and some inspired shot-making by the Brit and the Brazilian, they found themselves with three match-points on Murray’s serve. They needed just the one, for the pair to claim their first Masters 1000 title, at the fourth time of asking, and after a second straight appearance at the Cincinnati final.
After the match, they admitted that the first set had got away from them, but were more than happy with the fight to claim that first title.
Soares said: “The first set was a bit strange, because we had a really good start. We went up 3-1, Love-40, didn’t manage to get a second break. And then they came back from 4-2 to win the set. It’s not a good feeling, because we started the match really well, and then all of a sudden we lose four in a row and you’re down a set.
“But the one good thing we have been doing, especially this week, we never panicked, we never, you know, got negative or anything. So kept playing our game. We knew it was working. We just have to readjust something, and that’s what we did. We played a great second set. Then finals, big event, tiebreak, it’s gonna be drama, for sure.”
Murray agreed: “We kind of messed up the first set a little bit and after being so on top at the start. And we came back strong in the second set. We kind of kept the aggression in our play, kept going for it, and, you know, fought back well.”
Confidence going into the US Open
In their first year as a pairing they bookended the year with Slam titles at the Australian Open and the US Open, and they have started and ended the US Open series tournaments in the same way, although it may surprise people that the entry field for the ATP 500 at the start of the swing is just as hard as that for a Masters.
Murray said: “To win Washington and to win here is amazing. I mean, Washington is one of the most difficult tournaments of the year. You know, there was like 40, 45, or something. There is only the top teams, just like the Masters tournaments.
“We were really excited to win there. And then obviously to come here and win the Masters, especially after probably kind of a disappointing performance last week, was huge. So, you know, we practiced hard, we put our time in on the courts. We got our reward this week. I think we fought really well in a lot of difficult moments, a lot of close matches. To win the tiebreaks the way we did was really pleasing.”
Doubles and Davis Cup Issues
Both Murray and Soares have been vocal about the need for change for the Davis Cup, as the vote on Thursday paves the way for radical change to the format.
Murray said: “My thought is Davis Cup has been dying for a long time. A lot of people in tennis have been asking to change the format in some way. They obviously got big backers who came to them and wanting to put in money. You know, I hope the event’s a big success, because that’s great for tennis.
“Obviously the change to the format with the schedule and stuff is obviously not ideal, I’m sure, for a lot of the top players, but I think they will obviously try to work to get a better setup to kind of enhance the chances of the sort of real superstars of the sport playing.”
Soares added: “We don’t know the answer for that, if the format is going to work, if it’s going to be successful. Like Jamie said, we hope it does. But I think at least they are trying something, you know, to get the Davis Cup back and to get all the top guys playing. Because me, it’s an amazing team competition, but it only makes sense if the best of the best play.
“For me, it’s just the dates to commit. I will give an example. Last year I played two Davis Cup ties. I spent 21 days out of home to play two matches. I played Ecuador away and I played Japan away. I was 21 days out of home for two matches. I mean, on the calendar, I’m spending nine months of the year away from my family. It’s tough. And I’m a Davis Cup lover. I always play it. So it’s challenging.”
With the addition of the World Team Cup into the calendar, we are reminded of Andy Murray’s comment regarding the addition of a second team competition so close into the calendar.
Soares said: “It’s another amazing event what ATP has done and been able to accomplish. This is something that we worked hard as player council. We wanted an event like this. I think it’s great for tennis. It’s great in the start of the year to start with a big event before Australia.
“We hope it’s both a big success, and I think players can benefit from that. It’s, you know, it’s more money to our sport. It’s more money for the players, more opportunity to play big events. We just hope it’s going to work.”
Look ahead to New York
With a week off now before the US Open, and a chance to bid for a second title in New York, Soares tookt he time to thank for Andre Silva, who worked has worked hard not just to run this tournament but to improve the sport.
“I think it’s not only the tournament. I think it’s him himself. You know, he worked on the ATP for a long time. He was always the big support of the players and everyone. You know, from 1 to 1000 he was always looking after everyone.
“I think now me and Jamie are involved in the player council, so we wanted the doubles review and some changes, something to improve the game, and he was one of the guys to step it up from the tournament side and help us work on that.
“We made some good changes for next year, and I think it’s going to be great for doubles. I mean, he’s a great friend of mine. He’s Brazilian. He’s the tournament director, huge event here in the States. I really like the guy. I have to thank him, because he really does a lot for the sport. And he’s not only looking for the top guys. He looking for everyone.”
Longevity has long been a buzzword in the tennis world, and with both Murray and Soares are in their 30s but look like they are well in form to make a run at the US Open.
Murray explained: “The scoring system helps, because there is very little endurance to what we do. So that obviously increases the chances for a player to play longer. All the guys are out there working hard and making sure they are in the best shape because the level is too high now. You can’t coast, because you’ll get found out either by the other teams or the singles guys because they all know how to play doubles now. So there is no hiding.”
Soares added: I think it’s more mental than physical most of the time, because they are so used to, like, the short format, and all of a sudden you’re playing a three-hour doubles match. It’s not that you get tired, but eventually you have to keep your focus for a longer period of time.
Like Jamie said, everyone works so hard now. Everyone is so fit. I think this is the biggest difference from, you know, back in the days. Everyone has – not that they weren’t working hard. I think now we have way more access to, you know, recovery, you know, things that would help you with your body. All the information that you have right now really help you with the longevity.”
The US Open takes place between 27 August and 9 September.
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