On a hot and humid day, there was still some British interest fluttering in an occasional breeze as Jamie Murrayand Brazilian doubles partner Bruno Soares advanced to a third Masters final since they paired up last for the start of the 2016 season.
They could not have had a better year – they opened with a win in Sydney before going on to win the Australian Open and the US Open. This year they picked up titles in Acapulco (not to mention those sombreros), Stuttgart and Queen’s Club.
However, despite mirroring their great start the year before, reaching the Sydney final once more the results on the bigger stages have not been as forthcoming, and their Australian Open campaign was over before it almost had begun.
In the oppressive heat of the US hard-court summer tough, Murray & Soares started well with the semi-finals in Washington but went out in their Montreal opener. No such misfortune here as they have progressed without dropping a set, and will meet Pierre-Hugues Herbert & Nicolas Mahut, who had to come from a set down twice, before progressing in straight sets in Saturday’s semi-final.
Murray said, after their win over No. 2 seeds Lukasz Kubot & Marcelo Melo: “I think we played three really good matches. We beat three really good teams as well. We played a good match from start to finish. I don’t think they had a break point on our serve.
“We both served really good, smart plays and like we were on it the whole way through the match, which was good. Yeah I think we’re both really excited to be in the final, have a chance to win a Masters and yeah looking forward to the match tomorrow.”
As a pairing, Murray and Soares played the Frenchmen twice last year, losing to them in in the Monte Carlo Masters final, but getting the win that counted in the US Open semi-final last year.
Murray continued: “We haven’t played them this year, we played them obviously last year a couple of times, and we won a big one in New York against them, but I mean it’s going to be a tough match.
“It’s not going to be easy, obviously – it’s a final but we feel good, just trying to focus on our game and what we need to do to perform well. We know we’ll be a tough team to beat.”
Singles-to-doubles pairings can pull off the big surprises, especially in the Slams as the guys found out, losing to Sam Querrey and Donald Young as their title defence ended in the first round. So what would a win at the last Masters before the US Open actually mean for them, ahead of there US Open defence?
Soares said: “We’ve been playing some very good tennis but did not get a huge result but we were close so many times, lost a couple of close matches, you know, playing better and I think getting to the final here, it’s definitely another confidence boost on the right time.
“We play well on hard courts, I mean we won the title in New York last year and this is our last event before the Open so it’s everything coming on the right time. It’s a big event, it’s a 1000 event that we want to play well and also carry the momentum going into our last slam.
“We’re going to have a couple of days to prepare, and rest and get ready for New York, but definitely winning the trophy here would be very special and a lot of help for New York.”
Each of the Slams have their unique character, and many of the players really look forward to the energy that New York brings. There certainly is plenty for the pair to look forward to before they start preparing for the final Slam of the year.
Soares said: “With doubles starting on Wednesday we’re going to have nine to ten days maybe so probably give myself two full days and then start it easy and progress after that. But I think two days enough is good, get your mind for me it’s more mental than physical – get your mind away from tennis, enjoy the city, do different things, and then start again.
“Just walk around, get some good sushi, coffee, just enjoy the city, literally do something different rather than go to a tennis club and hitting balls, you know – run in Central Park, you know things like this. You know just be a normal person in New York,” at which point Murray interjected to suggest that was a tourist, laughing.
Murray continued: “I mean I’ve been to New York a bunch of times, seen most of the sights and stuff. One of my good friends lives there so probably spend a few days with him before the tournament gets going.
“Like Bruno said, just good to get away from the court and you know the pressure of playing, keep your mind fresh, because if we want to do well in New York, it’s a long two weeks. It’s easy to go stale if you’re on it every single day. Keep the mind fresh, get the body ready, You know you’re as best prepared as you can be when the tournament finally starts.”
Murray & Soares face Herbert & Mahut in the Men’s doubles final, on Grandstand Court at 12:15pm (5:15pm BST).
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