Bjorkman & Mirnyi Capture Stockholm Title
Jonas Bjorkman and Max Mirnyi collected some much-needed points in the Stanford ATP Doubles Race to Shanghai with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over French duo Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra in the If Stockholm Open final.
It was the pair’s first career ATP title since clinching the Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai crown in November 2006 (d. Knowles-Nestor).
Bjorkman and Mirnyi have now won 10 career ATP titles. They last reached a final together at the Australian Open in January (l. to Bryan-Bryan).
The Swede-Belarusian duo broke the Llodra serve twice in the fifth and ninth games of the 39-minute first set. Llodra and Clement converted their only break point opportunity of the opening set in the third game on the Mirnyi service.
Two breaks of serve in the second set proved enough, as they wrapped up their 24th victory of the season in one hour and 23 minutes.
Clement and Llodra has beaten Bjorkman and Mirnyi in their last career meeting at ATP Masters Series Paris last year.
The Frenchman captured their first career Grand Slam crown at Wimbledon in July (d. Bryan-Bryan), to add to trophies at Marseille (d. Knowles-Nestor) and Metz (d. Fyrstenberg-Matkowski) this year. The pair drops to 27-11 in 2007.
WHAT THE PLAYERS SAID
Bjorkman: “It’s a great feeling to win again, because we have both been having a mediocre year in doubles. We have been fighting hard to find our way through. This week was good for us in a way, because we had three easy matches and that gave us some confidence. We had a day off yesterday to enjoy being in a final again. Today we really showed ourselves that we could play some great tennis again. This was as good as we could play and to do that in my home, it could not have happened at a better place. Once again it was great that we played before the singles final. I think the last 10-15 years here it has always been a full house and is an excellent promotion for doubles. The quality of the match was really, really good and that will help show how good doubles can be.
“We had really closed the door on [Tennis Masters Cup] Shanghai. We felt we were so far behind that we could not see an opportunity to qualify. I think now we open the door a little bit, there is still a long way to go because we are still quite a lot of points behind. But now we are playing with great confidence and we will be pumped up coming into Madrid having played our best match of the year today. Anything can happen at least now. We are going to see if we can open that door a little bit more.”
Mirnyi: “It was emotional for a few reasons. Certainly for being in Stockholm, you don’t want to let [Jonas] down, where he has played so well. I also wanted to win for that reason. Secondly, the Race to Shanghai is such a big priority and a goal for us at this point. We haven’t won a tournament this year, so there were many things at stake. To have played under this much pressure is actually very rewarding and makes me feel good going into the next couple of weeks.
“First title of the year, we started off so well reaching the final at the Australian Open but then for different reasons had a few letdowns. Now I feel we are both clicking at the same time and that we can both continue our form.”