A crashing forehand return winner from Granollers proved the moment of magic necessary to break the deadlock late on OWL Arena, where the top seeds prevailed 6-4, 6-7(5), 14-12 in a dramatic championship match to seal their first grass-court crown as a team.
Granollers and Zeballos had appeared on course for a more comfortable climax to a tight encounter when leading 5/0 in the Match Tie-break. Yet home favourite Puetz and New Zealander Venus rallied to force two match points of their own at 10/9 and 12/11, before Granollers intervention secured a seventh tour-level title for the Spanish-Argentine pairing.
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A couple of key moments defined a tight first set in the teams’ maiden ATP Head2Head meeting. Granollers and Zeballos recovered a pair of break points to hold in the second game and were clinical when their chance came along, converting a deciding deuce point for 4-3 that proved enough to claim the opening set.
Puetz and Venus responded to dropping their first set of the week by staying solid, but the German-New Zealand duo was forced to wait until a tie-break to level the match as serve dominated the second set. The third seeds converted their third set point to take it 7/5, as the excited crowd urged home favourite Puetz and his partner Venus on.
There was no panic from Granollers and Zeballos, however, whose combination of precise serving and solid net play ultimately proved enough to overcome their opponents’ late charge and complete a one-hour, 52-minute win at the ATP 500 event.
It is a first tour-level title for Granollers and Zeballos since they lifted the trophy at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati last August. The duo is now 7-4 in ATP Tour finals.