Japan Open : Mackenzie McDonald-Marcelo Melo completes dream debut week with men’s doubles title

Tokyo : The American-Brazilian duo of Mackenzie McDonald and Marcelo Melo completed a dream debut week by claiming the Japan Open Tennis Championships men’s doubles title, defeating third seeds Rafael Matos and David Vega Hernandez 6-4, 3-6, 10-4, here on Sunday.

Matos and Vega Hernandez were seeking back-to-back titles after their trophy run in Sofia last week. They have won four titles on the season, with their other victories coming in Marrakech (their team debut), Mallorca and Bastad.

“It has been a long time since I played here in Tokyo. I always wanted to come back. I’m very happy to get another title here,” said Melo, who won the 2015 title in his last appearance at the ATP 500 event, alongside Raven Klaasen.

“First doubles title for me, so it’s pretty special to do it here in Japan,” added McDonald.Each of the first two sets were decided by a single, early break. The teams switched ends for the first time in the Match Tie-break knotted at 3/3 before McDonald and Melo won four straight points to take command.

Melo dominated at the net to spark the crucial run, with McDonald adding an exclamation point with a return winner for 7/3. After two big serves from the Brazilian brought up a host of match points before the pair clinched the title in style.

Melo was able to fashion a lob from a defensive reflex volley, and he then put the next ball away to secure the title.”It was a very tough match. [Matos and Vega Hernandez] are playing very well. They just won a title last week [in Sofia], and they’ve played together.

I think it was important for me and Mackie to play the same way as we were playing since the beginning, focus on what we have to do,” said Melo, who reached out to McDonald to form the new partnership.

“Today was tricky. A Match Tie-break, you never know what can happen. But we played very well. Mackie helped a lot, he played very well, as well. We are very happy. It’s not easy to play for the first time,” he added.

The 27-year-old McDonald earned his first ATP Tour title in singles or doubles with the victory. He was appearing in his first doubles final, having also competed in the Washington, DC singles final in 2021.”I haven’t played a lot of doubles with doubles guys, so it’s actually really nice playing with him.

His serve is good, he wants to play ‘I’ formation, he cleans up at the net… He kind of complements where I don’t fill all the holes. It worked out pretty well with that. It’s nice playing with a guy that can win points and put the ball away,” he said of the partnership with Melo.

The 39-year-old Melo clinched his 36th tour-level doubles title and first since 2020 in his 70th final. In addition to his 2015 Tokyo title with Klaasen, he also reached the 2014 final with Ivan Dodig.

 

 

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