Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo won a critical match in the FedEx ATP Battle For London on Thursday, defeating Brits Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski 6-2, 1-6, 10-6 to reach the quarter-finals of the Rolex Paris Masters. Less than a week ago, Kubot and Melo beat the same team in the Erste Bank Open final.
“It was a very tough match today. We played in a couple of days two big matches against them: in the final of Vienna and now [in Paris],” Melo said. “It was a very important step towards the [Nitto ATP] Finals for us. I think the level was pretty much the same as the final in Vienna. We knew for them it [would] almost secure their qualification for the Finals [if they won].”
Murray and Skupski began the day in seventh place in the Battle, while Kubot and Melo were in eighth. But with Kubot and Melo’s 79-minute victory, the teams swap positions.
“We’re in such a good position now at No. 7, but we still need to get more points,” Melo said. “That’s why the match was nervous for both teams.”[WATCH LIVE 1]
Murray and Skupski are also vulnerable in the eighth position. If Jurgen Melzer and Edouard Roger-Vasselin beat Rohan Bopanna and Oliver Marach on Friday, they will move into eighth place. Kubot and Melo only lost one service point in the Match Tie-break to emerge victorious, setting a clash against fifth seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut. The Frenchmen beat Marcelo Arevalo and Matwe Middelkoop 6-3, 7-6(4).
“We are glad to play very good in the Match Tie-break. Me and Kubi have a very good record in Match Tie-breaks,” Melo said. “It was great. We are happy. Now we have the French. Maybe it’ll be another nervous match, but for sure it will not be like it was today.”
In other action, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Hubert Hurkacz upset top seeds Robert Farah and Horacio Zeballos 6-3, 3-6, 10-6.
Two teams also qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals on Thursday, leaving two spots remaining. Wesley Koolhof/Nikola Mektic and John Peers/Michael Venus guaranteed their spots at The O2.
Koolhof and Mektic secured their places by beating Taylor Fritz and Casper Ruud 6-4, 7-6(1) after recovering from 2-5 down in the second set. Peers and Venus ousted Austin Krajicek and Frank Skugor 6-4, 7-6(4) and then second seeds Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares guaranteed their qualifications by eliminating Belgians Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen 6-4, 7-6(3).