Juan-Sebastian Cabal, Robert Farah win Wimbledon doubles after five-hour epic
Colombia’s Juan-Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah have won the Wimbledon men’s doubles title after defeating French pair Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin in five sets.
The first four sets all went to tie-breaks in a ding-dong affair that finished in four hours and 57 minutes but Cabal and Farah eventually won through 6-7 7-6 7-6 6-7 6-3.
The Colombians saved five break points on the way to the first-set tie-break but it was Mahut who was in the thick of action.
He was struck in the left eye by a ball towards the end of the set and the match was stopped for 10 minutes as the Frenchman received treatment.
Roger-Vasselin held with his next service game to take the set to a tie-break and the French pair took it 7-5.
Set two was another slog and took 66 minutes to come to a conclusion. Again, the set went to serve throughout, four break points saved by Cabal and Farah.
This time, after five successive points going against serve the Colombians took it 7-5.
The third set also went to a tie-break and Cabal and Farah took the lead in controversial fashion. Mahut, who was out of challenges, had thought that a call was wrongly called against him. A few points later, the chair umpire overruled a linesman to again deny Mahut a point.
That led to the Colombians winning 8-6 and Mahut was furious at the umpire and immediately walked off the court to regroup.
Regroup he did, though. Mahut was on serve to open the fourth set and was superb to hold to love. After three hours and 14 minutes, the match finally had its first break of serve and it was the French pair who went 3-1 up.
The Colombians replied immediately to break straight back before holding to love to level.
It was back to the status quo after that and a fourth tie break beckoned. This time, it was the French pair who won four successive points on the way to a 4-1 lead before eventually taking the set with a 7-5 win.
The roof went on at the start of the fifth set as the match ran through to its fifth hour. The Colombians could have taken control at 2-1 up, 30-40, but Roger-Vasselin struck two fantastic serves, first to save break point and then to take the lead. A beautiful backhand winner from Farah brought up deuce and the game extended.
Another break point came when a deep Cabal lob was returned into the net but break point was saved when the ball was hit long. Cabal again forced break point with a backhand but an error from Farah brought up a sixth deuce. An overhead hit long, but again the French pair could not close out the game.
The game then went to break point for a fifth time, and a sixth when Mahut volleyed into the net. After 11 minutes, the Colombians finally took the break when Cabal’s return was too hot to handle for Mahut.
Mahut and Roger-Vasselin nearly broke straight back in the next game. From 40-15 down, the French levelled when Cabal hit long and a double fault brought up break point. This time, Roger-Vasselin did not need 11 minutes. A return down the line levelled the score.
It was back on serve with holds for Mahut and Cabal but the Colombians looked like taking control once again at 0-40, 4-3 up. Mahut was down again, a shot from Farah striking him in the chest but he responded with a volley into the back of Cabal to pull a point back.
The break came with the next point ith Cabal’s stunning return down the line and the Colombians were serving for the match.
On Cabal’s serve, the pair took the first two points only for Mahut and Roger-Vasselin to peg them back. A Farah volley took the game to match point and another cross-court volley finally brought the marathon five-setter to an end.