“Polish power” scrape past Ziki and Lodra to top group B

Eighth seeds Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski snapped a three-match losing streak against second seeds Michael Llodra and Nenad Zimonjic on Sunday with a hard-fought 6-4, 5-7, 11-9 victory in Group B at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

At the start of their fourth meeting, both teams broke serve four times through the first six games, before the Poles broke Zimonjic to clinch the first set in 42 minutes. They converted three of 10 break point opportunities and hit six aces.

Llodra and Zimonjic kept the pressure on in the second set, but missed converting four break point opportunities until the 11th game when they broke Fyrstenberg’s serve to 15.

Fyrstenberg and Matkowski took a 3-0 lead in the Match tie-break and led 6-3, before being clawed back to 8-8. The Poles could not convert their first match point opportunity at 9-8, when Zimonjic fired a serve down the middle, which Matkowski could not return. At 9-9, Matkowski slammed a backhand winner to give Fyrstenberg the chance to close out the match.

After Zimonjic said, “I thought we played pretty well. It was a slow start from me, starting with two double faults in my first game. After that we played better and I thought we had much more chances than them. Two times we lost serve being up 40/15 and 40/0 in the first set, after being a break up. The second set, they had absolutely no chances on our serves and we had almost three games to break earlier.”

“It was unfortunate to start 3-0 down in the Match tie-break. They made some big returns, especially from Matkowski, on the big points. I thought at the end there was a little bit of luck involved on the 9-all point. But these are always close matches and one or two points decide it.”

Llodra and Zimonjic had won all three previous meetings this year at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington, the Rogers Cup in Montreal and the Shanghai Rolex Masters. The French-Serbian duo drops to a 45-15 match record on the season, which includes a 4-4 record in finals.