It took just 54 minutes Sunday for 42-year-old Daniel Nestor and new partner Édouard Roger-Vasselin to secure their first title together, the Masters 1000 Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.
The 6-2, 6-2 victory over No. 6 seeds Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia and Marcin Matkowski of Poland was no contest; as poor a day as it was for Zimonjic (a longtime partner of Nestor's with whom he won multiple Grand Slam titles), that's how good a day Nestor and Roger-Vasselin enjoyed.
The two split $226,000 US for the victory and earned 1000 ATP Tour ranking points. The win will put both back in the top 20 in the doubles rankings; Nestor began the week at No. 25, Roger-Vasselin at No. 23.
"I keep saying the same thing. My results have been pretty scattered over the last 18 months with different partners. But ever since I started playing with you, things have been going pretty good. So I think you’re the MVP of this team," said Nestor during the trophy ceremony.
"It’s been two great weeks with you. This is the first time I beat the Bryans and I won a Masters, so obviously it’s thanks to you," Roger-Vasselin replied.
— EdouardRogerVasselin (@ERogerVasselin) August 23, 2015
Nestor joked that he also had Montreal Rogers Cup singles champion Andy Murray, with whom he teamed up a few weeks ago for doubles at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C., to thank.
"I want to thank Andy Murray for taking me on his private jet (from Montreal) to Cincinnati. He keeps telling me that’s the only reason I’m winning this week, because I’m relaxed," he laughed.
The French-Canadian duo never faced a break point on their serves; in fact, in eight service games, they lost a total of just four points. Conversely, despite Zimonjic's big serve, he and Matkowski had an extremely poor day.
Serve still dominates in doubles, and break opportunities between competitive teams can be hard to come by. But Zimonjic and Matkowski won just 55 per cent of their first-serve points; they were broken four times in nine opportunities.
It is the 88th career title for Nestor, and his third of the season. It is also his 28th title in the Masters 1000 series tournaments – the highest level below the Grand Slams. He stands third all-time behind Bob and Mike Bryan, who have 34 each.
He heads to Winston-Salem, N.C. for the final tuneup for the US Open; he's the top seed at the ATP 250 event with Lukasz Kubot of Poland. Roger-Vasselin heads to New York to try his luck in the US Open singles qualifying. The two will reunite there; 27th in the doubles race for London after their first tournament together, they will jump all the way to No. 13 with this victory after just two tournaments.
Certainly, the way they've begun, they can at least start to think about perhaps making the top eight teams for the ATP Tour finals in London if they keep playing together, and at this kind of level.