For Marcel Granollers and Marcin Matkowski, the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships 2016 titlists, a winning run started with a text message.
“I was at home in Spain during the US Open and sent Marcin a text, because I was looking for a partner in Tokyo,” said Granollers, who teamed with the big-hitting Pole to defeat Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram 6-2, 7-6(4) on Sunday. “He was still playing in New York and I was already out. I knew he is a great player and I’m happy he accepted.”
The duo found instant chemistry in their first tournament together, upsetting the No. 3 seeds Dominic Inglot and Jean-Julien Rojer in a Match Tie-break before sweeping their final two matches in straight sets. Despite playing mostly with Polish and Spanish-speaking partners respectively, Matkowski and Granollers did not find the adjustment difficult to make.
“We both speak good English, so it was not a problem to communicate on the court,” Matkowski said. “I’ve always played the ad court on returns and Marcel likes to play on the deuce side, so that was easy to sort out as well.”
The final loss was a setback for Klaasen and Ram, but the pair, currently No. 6 in the Emirates ATP Doubles Race To London, is still well-positioned to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
“We could have started better,” Ram said. “I lost my serve right out of the gates, and if you give them a head start, they’re going to be tough to beat.”
“If we had a little bit more energy at the start of the match and kept it close, the outcome could have been different,” Klaasen added. “It took us a while to figure out how to make the match competitive. We took care of our serve and executed much better in the second set.”
Granollers/Matkowski will share 500 Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings points and $91,470, while Klaasen/Ram will split 300 points and $43,220.