Toronto's Daniel Nestor and partner Max Mirnyi of Belarus earned their third doubles title of the season in dramatic fashion Sunday.
Nestor and Mirnyi, the second seeds, rallied to beat France's Michael Llodra and Serb Nenad Zimonjic 3-6, 6-1, 12-10 at the Shanghai Masters. It was the first doubles title for Nestor and Mirnyi since winning the French Open in June.
Earlier, they had captured the China Masters 1000 and Memphis doubles honours.
Nestor and Mirnyi needed one hour nine minutes to capture the win Sunday. It was Nestor's 74th career doubles crown and left him sixth in the post-1968 Open era alongside American Bob Bryan.
“It's huge momentum-wise because we haven't strung together too many matches in a row,” said Nestor, “This week we played four solid matches.
“Confidence always comes from winning matches, so we're not going to sit back and enjoy this. We're going to play Vienna, Basel and Paris and try to keep them going, hopefully playing our best by London (at the World Tour Final).”
Nestor and Mirnyi entered the final without having dropped a set all week, but quickly fell behind as Llodra and Zimonjic — Nestor's former partner — won the opening set.
Nestor and Mirnyi tied the match with an emphatic second-set win to force the dramatic third set using a sudden-death tiebreaker format.
Nestor and Mirnyi saved two match points before a precise Mirnyi pass set up match point. Nestor's service winner clinched the victory as he and Mirnyi finished with two aces and two service breaks.
“Obviously winning such a close match, seesaw at the end, was nice to win,” said Nestor, who claimed this event in 2007 with Mark Knowles of the Bahamas and ‘08 with Zimonjic. “We beat the team that's probably been the best over the last few months, the most consistent.
“They've won a lot of matches, a lot of tournaments, beaten all the best teams. It's nice to beat them in a very tough, mentally gruelling match. They got us pretty good in Montreal so it was nice to get a little revenge.”
Nestor and Mirnyi improved to 2-2 this year against Llodra and Zimonjic, who earned their wins in the quarter-finals at Madrid as well as the semifinals at the Rogers Cup in Montreal in August. Nestor and Mirnyi earned their first victory in the semifinals of the French Open.
Nestor said his team maintained its cool after dropping the first set.
“We had our moments in the first set when we were returning well, especially Max,” he said. “He was returning well the first, I wasn't returning that well. I started to return better in the second.
“In the third set tiebreaker, it's just a matter of a couple of lucky shots here and there. But fortunately we held our nerve and won in the end.”