Frenchmen Knock Off Indian Wells Defending Champs

Tennis Updates:

The BNP Paribas Open has a new men’s doubles champion.

Frenchmen Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert rolled past Canadian Vasek Pospisil and American Jack Sock 6-3 7-6(5) on Saturday to dethrone the defending champions and claim their first title in Indian Wells.

The win also gave Mahut and Herbert their third tour-level title. For Mahut, it’s already his second ATP World Tour doubles title of 2016; he partnered with Pospisil last month to win in Rotterdam.

“You guys are one of the most consistent teams throughout the year,” Sock said of Mahut and Herbert.

Mahut, who improved to 12-10 in doubles finals, and Herbert, now 4-3, also earned 1,000 Emirates ATP Doubles Ranking points and will split $336,920 in prize money.

They won the championship by taking the big points. The French duo earned the match’s only break in its fourth game to go up 3-1. The pairings stayed on serve the remainder of the set. Mahut and Herbert did face two break points while serving at 4-2, but they erased both and held. An Herbert overhead that hit Sock on the bounce gave the Frenchmen the first set.

“We knew from the beginning that we needed to be playing our game 100 per cent, be aggressive, and not let them play, so that’s what we did,” Herbert said.

The teams traded holds during the second set, forcing the tie-break. During the Frenchmen’s first championship point, a strong return to Sock’s feet from Herbert forced the American to sail it long.
“We were lucky to be able to play on this big court for the final against guys who won last year,” Mahut said. “We like big challenges.”

Mahut and Herbert also were more opportunistic with their first serves. The pairing landed 72 per cent of them, compared to 62 per cent for their opponents. Sock and Pospisil also were 0-5 on break points.

Mahut and Herbert became the first French pairing to win the Indian Wells title since Arnaud Clement and Sebastien Grosjean in 2004 (d. W. Black/Ullyett). “We’re going to be happy to come back next year,” Herbert said.



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