Tokyo - South African doubles ace, Raven Klaasen, captured
the ATP Japan Open Tennis Championships doubles title on Sunday with his
Brazilian partner Marcelo Melo.
It was a first-time pairing for Klaasen and Melo.
The third seeds defeated Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and
Robert Farah 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 10-7 in one hour and 34 minutes at the Ariake
Colosseum in Tokyo.
It denied Cabal and Farah the chance to move to within 20
points of No 9-ranked Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares in the Emirates ATP Race
To London for qualification to next month's ATP World Tour Finals.
Klaasen and Melo earned $90 460 in prize money and 500
Emirates ATP Doubles Team Rankings points. They also came through a match
tie-break win against Treat Huey and Henri Kontinen in the quarter-finals.
Klaasen is now 8-6 lifetime in ATP World Tour finals, while
Melo is 16-18 overall.
Both teams took time to settle down, with breaks of serve in
the second and third games. Farah struck an unreturned serve to Klaasen at 4-5
on a sudden death deuce that was also a set point. Melo helped to take control
of the tie-break with a fine backhand return at 5/5, which helped seal the
The Colombians regrouped to take a 3-0 lead in the second
set, courtesy of a Farah forehand winner down the middle in the second game.
Klaasen saved a set point with an unreturned serve at 2-5, sudden death deuce,
but Cabal closed out the next game for a match tie-break decider.
Klaasen and Melo opened up a 4/2 advantage in the match
tie-break, but got pinned back to 5/5. Two points against the server helped
them regain control en route to victory.
Cabal and Farah were contesting their fifth ATP World Tour
final of the year (2-3). The duo will head to Shanghai sharing $40 810 and 300
points. Cabal is now 4-11 in finals, with Farah dropping to 4-9.
“It was definitely a fun week in Tokyo. This was our first
tournament together and feels great to lift the trophy! It was a very close
match today and I'm happy we pulled through. The crowd was awesome and made it
a lot of fun to be out there. Very happy with the performance this week,” said
Klaasen and Melo will this week play together in the ATP
Marcelo Melo and Raven Klaasen celebrate their win... (Getty Images)