Mahut/Herbert Win Doubles Crown

Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut are the team to beat at the moment on the ATP World Tour, with the French duo winning their third ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown in a row on Sunday at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.

The third seeds became the first French titlists at the Monte-Carlo Country Club since 1986 (Forget/Noah) as they defeated Australian Open champions Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares 4-6, 6-0, 10-6.

The final was delayed in starting due to rain – a rare weather blip in what has been a near-perfect week in the Principality – and it was Murray/Soares who started the stronger. The British/Brazilian duo missed the chance to serve for the set at 5-4, but broke again in the 10th game to clinch the opener.

From there, Herbert and Mahut went on a tear, reeling off the next six games to level the match, dropping just five points on their serve. They carried that momentum into the Match Tie-break and after establishing an early 5-1 lead, fought off any hopes of a fightback from Murray/Soares as they went on to prevail in 74 minutes.

“When you win matches, you’re more confident and you’re able to relax when you play the important points,” said Mahut. “It can turn a match around, especially in the super tie-break.

“Each time we do the same: we don’t play well in the first set, then we play better. A super tie-break is always a chance. It’s a mixture between confidence and luck.”

After victories in Indian Wells (d. Pospisil/Sock) and Miami (d. Klaasen/Ram), Herbert and Mahut are the first team since Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan in 2014 to sweep the first three Masters 1000 titles of the season.

Herbert and Mahut captured their fifth tour-level title together, a haul that includes the US Open crown last year.

Murray and Soares were bidding to win their third title of the season after victories in Sydney (d. Bopanna/Mergea) and Melbourne (d. Nestor/Stepanek).

“I couldn’t get any serve in,” said Murray. “Any serve going in was like a hundred miles an hour. I think I lost my serve three times, deuce points, because I just lost all rhythm on my serve.

“We were the better team the first set. We were returning well, playing good. I think we were kind of on top. My serve is just a battle every time. Killed all the momentum that we had really.”

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