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Kubot and Melo win doubles title

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Originally published on 15/07/17 00:00

It took four and 45 minutes to complete, but the No.4 seeds showed their extra quality in the 24th game of a mammoth decider to secure an emotional triumph.

Melo, who will return to world No.1 on Monday, has now doubled his Grand Slam haul and Kubot has done likewise. The pair have had an outstanding year together and they are the team to beat heading into the North American hard-court season later this summer.

Both teams had served well en route to the championship match and unsurprisingly, break-point chances were at a premium in the opener. Rallies were rare and the games ticked by at speed however the unfancied No.16 seeds made their move in the 11th game.

Marach smacked a forehand return winner to secure his team a precious break and he stepped up to the line to complete the formalities moments later.

The second set mirrored the first but this time it was the favourites who struck late on. With their opponent’s serving to stay in the set, Kubot flicked a delightful topspin backhand lob over the sprawling Pavic to give his side parity on the scoreboard.

There was not a single-break point on offer in the third set and a tiebreak was called into action. Melo and Kubot took charge from the outset and for the first time in the match, they were ahead in the score.

The No.4 seeds had established control however their pertinacious rivals refused to let their Grand Slam dream meekly slip away. In a topsy-turvy fourth set, that was out of sync with the rest of the match, Marach and Pavic bagged the set by six games to three.

It quickly became apparent that the fifth set would be a lengthy affair as neither side could make any inroads in return games. The first moment of intrigue arrived in the 11th game as Pavic stepped up to the line. The No.4 seeds created two match-point opportunities however the Croatian served his way out of trouble.

With the score tied at 11 games apiece, the tournament referee took the decision to close the roof due to fading light.

Kubot and Melo went for the jugular on the resumption. The Brazillian held serve and he was soon embracing his overjoyed teammate on the Centre Court turf after the Pole fired an unstoppable return to end the marathon duel.

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