Belgians Sander Gille/Joran Vliegen won their third ATP Tour doubles title of the season on Sunday, beating Marcelo Demoliner/Matwe Middelkoop 7-6(2), 7-6(4) at the Huajin Securities Zhuhai Championship.
The teams traded breaks but in both sets but Gille/Vliegen were too locked in during the tie-breaks and picked up their first hard-court title of the season after winning clay-court titles in Bastad and Gstaad. The team also fell in the Kitzbuhel title match.
“It’s our first time in China, so we didn’t really know what to expect. But this has been a great event, it’s been a very good week for us,” Vliegen said.
Gille/Vliegen won 55 per cent of their second-serve return points against Demoliner/Middelkoop, who were playing in only their second event together after losing in the first round last week at the St. Petersburg Open.
“I think it’s knowing exactly what the other person is going to do at a certain time in the match, trusting each other 100 per cent and knowing that each one of us is willing to work hard 100 per cent every day to get better,” said Vliegen. “I think that we never expected this when we started in 2013, of course, but I think gradually just progressing… I think we knew we hadn’t reached our ceiling yet, and we just keep working hard and [will] see where we end up.”
The team also benefits from both players living nearby each other in Belgium, Gille said.
“It’s already a lot easier for practice, so we live close by in Belgium and we practise in the same place, that already helps. So every time between playing tournaments we have the ability to practise together, which helps. You can work on things together, you can take the same flights, the travel is easy, so in that regard it’s very easy,” he said.
“Another thing I like is that you can speak the same language. Obviously everybody speaks very good English, but there are details and there are little things that I like to do and speak in Dutch, with him, so I think that’s a little extra.”
Demoliner fell to 1-9 in ATP Tour doubles finals, while Middelkoop is now 7-10. They will receive 150 ATP Doubles Rankings points and split $27,000 in prize money. Gille/Vliegen will receive 250 ATP Doubles Rankings points and split $52,670 in prize money.
Source: ATP World Tour