The relatively new pairing of Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares claimed their first title together over second seeds and defending champions Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo, 6-4, 6-2, and did it without dropping a set.
Pavic and Soares teamed up for the first time this year ahead of the grass season with their best result coming in Cincinnati this summer where they reached the semifinals, losing to Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah. The pair got their revenge on the World No. 1 team in Shanghai, defeating the reigning French and US Open champions in the quarterfinals.
“It’s a pretty new partnership, but we weren’t winning that many matches,” Soares said, “but we kept on believing, I think working hard, and that’s it. Tried to, again, every week impose our game.
“I felt like after the first two wins, you know, we had some momentum going. Had the confidence a little bit higher. And then the last three matches I think we played extremely well.”
Across the net, the established pairing of Kubot and Melo were playing in their third consecutive Rolex Shanghai Masters final. The pair arrived in Shanghai in good form, having made the final in Beijing. Kubot and Melo also exacted some revenge in Shanghai, taking out Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek in the quarterfinals in a rematch of the China Open final.
The final promised to be an exciting contrast of touch versus power, with Kubot and Melo claiming a combined height advantage of 22cm. The first set had some exquisite cat-and-mouse points early on that featured a succession of sharply angled crosscourt dinks, more commonly seen in badminton than tennis, won by Mate Pavic.
“Just like every other match in doubles, you know, a few key points went on our side and I would say changed the match completely,” Pavic said.
Some excellent crosscourt returns by the Croat, combined with several beautifully weighted lobs by Soares put constant pressure on the service games of Kubot and Melo, producing six break point opportunities while facing none of their own in the first set. One break of Kubot’s serve was all that was needed to take the first set, 6-4.
The second set was almost a carbon copy of the first, with Kubot broken yet again in his first service game. Serving at 3-2 with a break, Pavic faced the lone break point on their serve all day, which was swiftly dismissed with a Soares put-away volley.
Things went swiftly from there as Kubot was broken for a third time in the match thanks to a spectacular reflex volley winner by Pavic. “We played all the matches pretty good,” Pavic said. “Besides the semifinal, we didn’t drop a serve for four matches. So, everything was just working. The kind of chemistry was good. It was a fun week. We played good.”