Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos held off a stirring late comeback from Tim Puetz and Michael Venus to clinch the 2022 Halle Open men’s doubles title, here on Sunday.
A crashing forehand return winner from Granollers proved the moment of magic necessary to break the deadlock late at OWL Arena, where the top seeds prevailed 6-4, 6-7(5), 14-12 in a dramatic championship match to seal their first grass-court crown as a team.
Granollers and Zeballos had appeared on course for a more comfortable climax to a tight encounter when leading 5/0 in the Match Tie-break. However, home favourite Puetz and New Zealander Venus rallied to force two match points of their own at 10/9 and 12/11, before Granollers’ intervention secured a seventh tour-level title for the Spanish-Argentine pairing.
“There was a bit of luck at the end of the match because you never know what is going to happen when you are 10/10 in the Match Tie-break,” said Granollers after the match.
“I think it was a very good match, a good level from both teams. We were leading in the Match Tie-break, and sometimes it can happen that you get tight, but we’re very happy to win the tournament,” he added.
“This is a really special moment for me. I came here for the first time when I was 17 with my father. I met Roger [Federer] here, I played my first junior tournament, so what can I say,” said Zeballos. “I have really nice memories, I’m so happy, I enjoyed the whole week, and now that we won the tournament it is perfect,” he added.
A couple of key moments defined a tight first set in their maiden ATP head-to-head meeting. Granollers and Zeballos recovered a pair of break points to hold in the second game and were clinical when their chance came along, converting a deciding deuce point for 4-3 that proved enough to claim the opening set.
Puetz and Venus responded to dropping their first set of the week by staying solid, but the German-New Zealand duo was forced to wait until a tie-break to level the match as serve dominated the second set. The third seeds converted their third set point to take it 7-5, as the excited crowd urged home favourite Puetz and his partner Venus on.
There was no panic from Granollers and Zeballos, however, whose combination of precise serving and solid net play ultimately proved enough to overcome their opponents’ late charge and complete a one-hour, 52-minute win at the ATP 500 event.
It is the first tour-level title for Granollers and Zeballos since they lifted the trophy at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati last August. The duo is now 7-4 in ATP Tour finals.