It’s been a terrific few days for the Colombian duo of Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah as they progressed to the semi-finals of the Nitto ATP Finals at the O2 Arena, London. The second-seeded Colombians, qualifying for the tournament for the first time, completed play in Group Llodra/Santoro with a 2-1 win-loss record, cementing the second semi-finals berth from the group.
A 6-3, 7-6(5) victory over sixth seeds South African Raven Klaasen and New Zealand's Michael Venus in just under an hour and a half helped the Colombians move to the semis.
Cabal and Farah have had a tremendous year, winning their maiden ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia earlier this year. They are the first South American pairing to qualify for the tournament since Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas and Peruvian Luis Horna in 2008.
The Colombians found an opening in the third game of the first set when Raven Klaasen hit a backhand volley into the net. The break provided them the impetus to take a 5-3 lead and solid net play ensured that they broke the Venus serve to take the set in just under half an hour.
The second set saw the Colombians hand the initiative to their sixth-seeded opponents to trail 1-3. However, they quickly made amends to win 4 games in a row to stun their opponents who had beaten them twice earlier this year at the Citi Open and BNP Paribas Masters.
2 points away from grabbing the match at 6-5 in the second set, the Colombians failed to capitalize on the Klaasen serve as the South African held his nerve to take the set to a tie-break. The Colombians needed four match points before Cabal served out an ace to cement their semi-finals place.
“It’s a great feeling. We practiced very hard through the year and played a lot of matches to get here. To play the best teams in the world and to get through a group that was very tough is very rewarding,” Farah said after their win.
In all, it was fitting revenge for the Colombian duo who avenged their earlier losses to their opponents by winning the winner-take-all contest. The Colombians will be looking to make history by becoming the first All South American Team to win the ATP Finals.