Top-seeded South African duo Wesley Moodie and Jeff Coetzee
captured their first ATP team title together Sunday with a hard-fought 6-2, 4-6, 10-8 (Match TB) victory over No. 2 seeds Jamie Murray of Scotland and Zimbabwean Kevin Ullyett in the Estoril Open doubles final.
In the match played on Centralito court, Coetzee and Moodie broke the Ullyett serve twice in the 26-minute first set – in the fourth and eighth games.
With the wind causing both teams problems, Murray and Ullyett broke the Coetzee serve to love for a 4-3 lead in the second set and went on to force the final to a Match Tie-break with 62 minutes on the clock.
Coetzee and Moodie surged to a 5-1 lead in the Match Tie-break but Murray and Ullyett clawed their way back to eight points all. Coetzee sealed a South African victory with quick reflexes at the net in a match that lasted one hour and 15 minutes.
"The key was how we started the first set," reflected Coetzee. "We let ourselves down in the second set – particularly on my serve – with a lack of concentration on a couple of volleys. In conditions like this you have to be on your toes as the ball is swirling around in the wind.
“We have played solid this year. We have only really lost one in the Doha final, when we had match points. I didn’t want to go through that again at 8-all and at 9-8 I told myself to take a chance and it paid off for us. We’ve won our first title on clay."
Coetzee and Moodie had previously finished runner-up at Doha (l. to Kohlschreiber-Skoch) and reached the semifinals at the Australian Open (l. to Clement-Llodra) and ATP Masters Series Miami (l. to Bryan-Bryan) this year.
Coetzee said: “It means a lot to win our first team title together – particularly on clay! It’s always tough coming from Davis Cup, after Indian Wells and Miami. We only practised once on clay here before our first match. I said to Wesley it would be interesting to see how we played on clay, as generally we prefer hard courts. We stuck to our game plan and it worked for us."
The pair is currently No. 5 in the Stanford ATP Doubles Race with a 16-7 record on the season. They share €18,5000in prize money.
World No. 20 Coetzee has now won six career ATP doubles crowns. He also finished runner-up at Marseille (w/Allegro) in February. The 31-year-old made his Estoril debut in 2007, reaching the semifinals (w/Wassen).
World No. 30 Moodie has clinched four ATP crowns (also 2005-Wimbledon; 2007-Adelaide, Valencia).
Murray won his first title of the season in Delray Beach (w/Mirnyi), while Ullyett was appearing in his 52nd career ATP doubles final. The 35-year-old Zimbabwean last won an ATP title at Sydney in January 2007 (w/Hanley). The pair shares the €10,300 second prize.