Finnish-Aussie duo claim 12th team trophy
After triumphing in the opening week of the season at Brisbane, two-time reigning Nitto ATP Finalschampions Henri Kontinen and John Peers lost nine of their next 12 matches at all levels. But after reaching the quarter-finals at Roland Garros, it appeared they were finding a rhythm.
The Finnish-Australian pair continued their turnaround this week, defeating No. 4 seeds Jamie Murrayand Bruno Soares 6-4, 6-3 on Sunday to capture the Fever-Tree Championships title. It is the team’s 12th tour-level trophy together, and first on grass.
“It means a lot,” Peers said. “I know we haven’t quite done as well this year, but I know we are building, [going] back [to the] end of the clay-court season. So to be able to come onto the grass and play four really good matches and come out with that is really promising and gives us a lot of confidence going into Wimbledon.”
Kontinen/Peers avenged a loss against the British-Brazilian duo from last month at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, keeping the 2017 champions from retaining the trophy. The second seeds broke three times in the championship match, while winning 85 per cent (28/33) of their first-serve points to advance their record in tour-level finals to 12-1.
The 28-year-old from Finland, who reached the top of the ATP Doubles Rankings last year, doesn’t believe there’s a secret to the team’s championship success.
“It’s just another match. Maybe the opponents don’t feel the same way,” Kontinen said. “We’re going to, at some point, probably lose a few, but we feel confident after winning some matches, and just happened to play good.”
It is Kontinen’s 20th tour-level doubles title, and the 28-year-old now owns a 20-4 tally in championship matches. His partner, Peers, now has 18 trophies, with his other six coming with one of his opponent’s on Sunday: Murray. The team earns 500 ATP Doubles Rankings points and splits €128,740 in prize money, while Murray/Soares add 300 points to their tally for advancing to their third final (1-2) of the season, and share €63,030.