March 13, 2021

Karatsev, Rublev emerge first all-Russia doubles champions of Qatar ExxonMobil Open

The Russian pair of Aslan Karatsev and Andrey Rublev scripted a history of their own on Friday after effectively combining to lift the doubles title of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2021. The duo defeated New Zealand’s Marcus Daniell and Austria’s Philipp Oswald in straight-sets 7-5, 6-4 in the final in one hour and 21 minutes to claim their 250 FedEx ATP Doubles Rankings points and a share of $38,470.

The win was the first for an all-Russian pair in the tournament’s history since its debut in 1993.

Karatsev and Rublev, who were unseeded in Doha, had never played a tournament together before now. They competed as a duo in one match at the ATP Cup, losing in straight sets but the pair had no such difficulties this week, surging to the title without dropping a set, saving four of the five break points they faced in the final.

“It’s only my second [doubles] title, so it’s a great feeling,” Rublev said. “We’ll see how I’m going to do in Dubai. Now I’m focussed on next week, and I hope I can show good tennis there.”

“It feels great. It’s my first ATP title, so it’s an unbelievable feeling,” Karatsev said. “It’s great to play with Andrey Rublev.”

En route to the final, the duo had defeated the Italian pair of Lorenzo Sonego and Andrea Vavassori in the Round of 16 before knocking out the fourth-seed pair of Brazil’s Marcelo Melo and The Netherlands’ Jean-Julien Rojert in straight sets in the quarter-finals.

They surmounted an uphill task in the semi-final against the all-French duo of Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin, winning 7-6(5), 7-6(2) before booking their place in the final.

Daniell and Oswald did not win the title. Still, they enjoyed a tremendous run at this ATP 250, where they beat reigning Australian Open champions Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek and top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah. The pair, winners at the 2020 Forte Village Sardegna Open, will share the $27,550 runners-up prize and add 150 ranking points