Polasek/Dodig Capture First Masters 1000 Title Together In Cincinnati
Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah have clearly been the best doubles team on the ATP Tour this season. But Sunday was Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek’s day.
In just their fourth event as a team, Dodig and Polasek captured their first title together, defeating top seeds Cabal and Farah 4-6, 6-4, 10-6 to win the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.
Fourteen months ago, Polasek had no ATP Doubles Ranking at all, as he had not played a professional tennis match since November 2013. The Slovak was forced to retire due to injury. But the Slovakian-Croatian duo has quickly clicked this year, defeating the Top 2 seeds at this ATP Masters 1000 tournament as well as legends Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan en route to the trophy.
“To see a full stadium today was amazing for both of us, for both teams,” Dodig said. “We had a great fight on the court and we really [played] great tennis today.”
This was Polasek’s 28th tour-level final, but his first at a Masters 1000 event. Dodig takes home his fifth crown at this level, with his four previous victories coming with Marcelo Melo, including in Cincinnati in 2016.
“They played a great match. They’ve been playing good for already a couple months and Polasek was out for a while,” Farah said. “To come back the way you’ve been coming back, it’s seriously very impressive, so congrats for that.”
Dodig and Polasek will incredibly climb to 12th in the ATP Doubles Race To London, surging in pursuit of a spot at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at The O2 from 10-17 November. Cabal and Farah became the first pair to qualify for the eight-team field earlier this week.
There was not much to differentiate the two teams in what was a high-level final. Neither team overpowered the other, and both had their moments at the net, showing quick reactions.
But after winning two more points than the Colombians in the first set and still losing it, Dodig and Polasek finally got their break at the very end of the second set. Cabal struck his team’s first double fault of the match long on set point, setting up a Match Tie-break.
Strong returning out of the gate gave Dodig and Polasek an early lead, which they never relinquished. Cabal double faulted in the ad court again as he tried to reel his team back into it, but it was not enough, as the Croatian-Slovakian team earned 1,000 ATP Doubles Ranking points each. They will split $331,300.
Cabal and Farah fell just short of lifting their fifth trophy of the year and second at a Masters 1000 event in 2019. However, the Colombians still leave Cincinnati with 600 points apiece and a share of $161,680.