Fleming and Marray lose agonising Eastbourne Final

By Philip James

Alexander Peya/Bruno Soares def Colin Fleming/Jonathan Marray 3-6, 6-3, 10-8

Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares denied Colin Fleming and Jonny Marray a home title at Eastbourne today, piping them to the ATP250 Aegon International title in a Champion’s Tie-break.

Peya and Soares were the number one seeds but it was the home favourites who took the first set and looked strong in the second until some untimely double faults cost them dear.

Fourth seeds Fleming and Marray saved two match points in the decider before the top seeds eventually took it to win the match in an hour and 11 minutes.

It was the sixth ATP World Tour team title for Austrian Peya and his Brazilian teammate who are already second in the doubles team ‘Race to London’ rankings.

Soares is sixth in the individual doubles rankings, just three places ahead of his partner, while Marray and Scotland’s Fleming are 16th and 26th respectively.

Though Fleming has two titles to his name already this year, including Auckland’s Heineken Open which he won with Soares, this was his and Marray’s first final together have started playing together this year.

It was only Marray’s second ever tour final, the first of course being his fairy tale win at Wimbledon last year with Frederik Nielsen, the points from which play a large part in his current rankings.

There were break chances for both sides early on the first set but it was the Brits who came out on top of the early exchanges.

Both Fleming and Marray faced and saved two break points in their opening service games, sandwiched either side of breaking their opponents.

Both teams then seemed to settle into a rhythm and the rest of set went with serve as the Brits converted the 3-0 lead to take the opener 6-3.

That theme continued into the second set with both teams holding easily, the only exception being when Peya saved three break points at 1-1.

When Marray served at 3-4, the Brits had only conceded one point on serve all set and that a double fault.

But double faults were to become a theme as Marray served three to gift their opponents a break chance, an opportunity they gratefully accepted.

The double faults appeared to be catching as Soares served one of his own in the next game on set point to make it deuce, and simultaneously set point and break point, but the Austrian-Brazilian pairing held on to take the set 6-3.

In the resulting Champion’s Tie-break the Brits twice went up a mini-break, but both times a Marray double fault let their opponents off the hook.

A mini-break at 6-6 gave the top seeds only their second lead of the decider and two points on serve brought up three championship points.

The first two were on Flemings serve and the Brits were able to save them but Peya and Soares were not to be denied and took the third to take the title.

The four men now head to SW19 and the Wimbledon Championships where Peya and Soares are third seeds, and Fleming and Marray ninth.