The South African/Brazilian pairing of Raven Klaasen and Marcelo Melo claimed its second straight doubles title on Sunday at the Shanghai Rolex Masters, topping the all-Italian duo of Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-3 at the Qizhong Tennis Center.
Klaasen/Melo were teaming up for the second week in a row after capturing the Tokyo title (d. Cabal/Farah).
“The last two weeks have been great,” said Klaasen. “We’ve played some really goodtennis together. I’ve enjoyed my time with him on the court. It’s been a lot of fun on and off the court. When you win this much, it’s good out there.”
“For sure I expected us to have good results,” said Melo. “But I have to be honest, I never expected to win two tournaments at this level. I think we combine really well together. Raven has a really good volley and he knows how to cover a lot of the net. I also have a good volley, so passing us at the net is not that easy. We have fun and that’s the most important thing for me.”
The No. 5-seeded Bolelli/Fognini tandem came out firing, opening the match with a break and a subsequent consolidation to go up 2-0. However, a loose service game from Fognini would allow his opponents to bring the match back on serve at 2-all. Klaasen/Melo, who would convert five of their seven break-point opportunities on the afternoon, held on to that momentum, breaking for 5-3. The pair then saved three break points to serve out the set in a mere 30 minutes.
Fognini took out his frustration on his racquet between sets. The brief show of emotion seemed to spur his side on, and the Italians were once again out to an early 2-0 advantage in the second set. But just as in the first set, Klaasen/Melo battled back to level the stanza at 2-2. With Bolelli/Fognini serving to stay in the match down 3-5, Klaasen/Melo would notch their fifth and final break of the match to close it out.
“We actually got off to a shaky start,” said Klaasen. “I lost my serve straight out the gate. We managed to get a break back early and that kind of settled me down. Marcelo’s pretty experienced, he’s good in these situations. Once we got our momentum going, we felt good out there. We’re very happy with the result today.”
Australian Open champions Bolelli and Fognini were appearing in their fourth final of the season (1-3) and were seeking their first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title after runner-up efforts in Indian Wells (l. to Pospisil/Sock) and Monte-Carlo (l. to Bryan/Bryan) earlier this season. They also reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros (l. to Bryan/Bryan). Their other career titles came in Umag in 2011 and Buenos Aires in 2013.