Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic survived an electrifying quarterfinal at the Paris Masters to clinch the year-end doubles No. 1 spot.
The Austrian and Croatian pair vanquished John Isner and Neal Skupski 7-6 (6), 6-7(4) 12-10 in a dramatic match that lasted almost two hours. The result means they can't be surpassed by the second-ranked team of Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah this year, thus making them the top doubles team of 2018.
Marach and Pavic will now face the Spaniard Marcel Granollers and American Rajeev Ram, who defeated Marcelo Melo and Lukasz Kubot 6-1,6-4 in the other quarterfinal.
The 2018 season has been remarkable for Marach and Pavic; they have reached as many as nine finals this year. They prevailed in four out of those nine finals, including the Australian Open.
The pair is a perfect combination of experience and belligerence. The 38-year-old Marach brings veteran smarts to the table, while the 25-year-old Pavic fills the court with exuberance.
Marach was very pleased with their achievement as he said, "It's been an unbelievable year. Winning three tournaments in a row, and coming close to the fourth final, was incredible. We have played solid tennis throughout the year, reached another Grand Slam final at Roland Garros and now, here again in Paris, we're in the semi-finals. We're very happy."
Pavic was also jubilant as he commented, "We had a great year and a good start. Overall, we lost two or three first rounds, with lots of quarterfinals and semifinals. We're extremely happy to finish the year at No. 1."
Pavic is the youngest member of a No. 1 doubles team since 1995, and on the other hand, Marach is the oldest player to achieve the feat since 1984. The old-young pair enjoy a comfortable lead over the Colombian pair of Juan Sebastian Cabal and Rober Farah by 1,600 points in the ATP points table; Marach and Pavic have 7430 points while the latter have 5830 pints.
The Austrian-Croatian pair will aim to claim the Paris Masters too and head to the ATP Finals with another title in their bag.