Have a day, Fernando Verdasco! Following his singles semi-final victory at the Rio Open presented by Claro, the Spaniard said that he has found extra motivation in his tournament debut. The confidence boost extended into the doubles final as well.
Verdasco captured the title in Rio de Janeiro alongside countryman David Marrero, rallying past Nikola Mektic and Alexander Peya 5-7, 7-5, 10/8 in one hour and 51 minutes. Just hours earlier, the Madrid native advanced to his 23rd ATP World Tour singles final, downing Fabio Fognini in straight sets.
Take a bow, gentlemen (all four of you! ??)
Epic doubles point! #RioOpen2018 pic.twitter.com/bhOYzAfTCV
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) February 25, 2018
"It was a difficult match, but the good thing is that we beat them, and tomorrow I will have even more confidence in the singles final," said Verdasco. "I hope to win tomorrow to have the best possible memory of Rio. I identify myself a lot with Brazil and I have many friends here who say I have Brazilian blood."
Marrero and Verdasco were pushed to the brink throughout the week, earning a trio of wins in Match Tie-breaks. The Spanish tandem wasn't even in the field when the draw was made, gaining entry as lucky losers after falling to Nicolas Jarry and Jiri Vesely in the final round of qualifying. They are the third lucky-loser team to win an ATP World Tour title in the past decade and first since 2014 (only the 500-level tournaments have doubles qualifying).
Lucky Loser Doubles Champions (since 2009)
Fernando Verdasco & David Marrero
Rio de Janeiro
Pierre-Hugues Herbert & Michal Przysiezny
Jesse Huta Galung & Stephane Robert
The Nitto ATP Finals champions in 2013, Marrero and Verdasco have now won seven titles together. Individually, 37-year-old Marrero claimed his 14th doubles crown, while 34-year-old Verdasco secured his eighth. They earned 500 ATP Doubles Rankings points and split $110,070 in prize money.
"Fernando has made an extra sacrifice these days to win this title," added Marrero. "It is very special to win this trophy with him in one of the best tournaments on the circuit."
Mektic and Peya, meanwhile, fell in their bid for revenge over the Spaniards, having also lost to the duo in the Argentina Open first round last week. The Croatian-Austrian pair were contesting their second final of the year, also finishing runner-up in Sofia (l. to Haase/Middelkoop).
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