Nestor and Zimonjic finish on a high
Originally published on: 29/11/10 11:39
Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic captured their second Barclays ATP World Tour Finals title after defeating Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi 7-6(6) 6-4, the perfect end to their successful three-year partnership.
“We finished great. It’s [been] a great partnership,” said Nestor. “We won three slams, two Barclays ATP World Tour Finals titles, a lot of individual Masters  tournaments throughout the years, a lot of tournaments. Pretty good record in finals, too. [It’s the] most successful partnership I’ve had.”
Their three years were littered with success, capturing 21 tour titles with seven of those coming in an impressive final year together. Their most notable achievements came at Grand Slam level, winning back-to-back Wimbledon titles in 2008 and 2009, and winning Roland Garros in 2010.
The Canadian-Serbian pair also won eight Masters Series 1000 events and their victory at The O2 added to their previous season-ending championship win in Shanghai in 2008.
“Obviously too bad that we’re not continuing,” admited Nestor, who will now join up with Mirnyi, while Zimonjic will partner Frenchman Michael Llodra in 2011. “But at the same time we had a great run.”
In their final tournament together they got off to the perfect start, defeating Wesley Moodie and Dick Norman and Bhupathi and Mirnyi to become the first pair to qualify for the semi-finals. They did suffer a slight blip in their final round-robin tie, losing to Lukasz Kubot and Oliver Marach but still remained top of the group.
In the semi-finals, they then had the unenviable task of facing the Bryan brothers. They were very nearly denied their dream finish at that stage but dug deep to save a match point to win a thrilling deciding set 12-10.
Having already defeated Bhupathi and Mirnyi in the group stages and coming off the back of beating the world No.1s, the Canadian-Serbian duo came into the final in confident mood, but things didn’t go to plan early on as they went 5-3 down.
Fortunately, Bhupathi and Mirnyi were unable to convert two set points, which kick started a comeback from the second seeds as they stormed back to secure a tight tiebreak 8-6.
Producing a trademark solid serving performance from thereon out, Nestor and Zimonjic crucially stepped up a gear to break in the seventh game of the second set to break before serving out the match.
“It’s nice to beat a team when they’re playing at the top of their game, like we were,” said Nestor. “I think there were a lot of tough points there in the first set, and even in the second. We played well on those big points. We both served well when we had to.”
“We were lucky to win the first set in the tiebreak,” added Zimonjic, who now returns to Serbia to compete in the Davis Cup final on Friday. “After that, I thought we felt more comfortable and we started making some returns. I was struggling in the first set.
“Daniel was playing pretty good. He was carrying us. And then after that, I thought we used the chance that we had and closed it out.”