Coming into the Swedish Open doubles final, neither of the members of the Belgian pair had even reached an ATP tour level final, let alone won one. However, on Sunday, all that stood between them and a maiden title were the Argentinians Federico Delbonis and Horacio Zeballos.
Nerves seemed to get the better of Gille and Vliegen early as they dropped serve in the first game of the final. Nevertheless, Gille and Vliegen worked their way into the match and after breaking back at 2-3 halfway through the set, they entered a tiebreak only a few games later. All four competitors battled hard in a tight tie break but a superb, deep return from Delbonis at 6-5 in the breaker made the difference. Delbonis’ return, which clipped the baseline, was initially deemed long but the baseline line judge immediately reversed her call. With the Belgians having failed to return Delbonis’ return, the Argentinians strolled to the net knowing they had taken the opener. Gille and Vliegen, however, protested briefly that they had been disturbed by the incorrect call. To their disappointment, their complaints fell on deaf ears and the opener went the way of Delbonis and Zeballos after 51 minutes.
The second set was just as even as the first. Down 2-3 on their own serve, the Belgian pair escaped from a love – 30 hole thanks to a couple of clutch smashes from Vliegen. The tipping point of the second set came at 5-5 40-40 on Zeballos’ serve when Gille and Vliegen won the deciding point to give themselves the opportunity to force a match tiebreak. Only minutes later, it was one of Vliegen’s smashes that proved vital yet again as the Belgians evened the match at one set apiece.
Gille and Vliegen raced out of the starting blocks in the deciding match tiebreak as a couple of misfires from Delbonis and Zeballos saw the Belgian pair jump out to a quick 4-0 lead. The deficit proved too big to overcome for the Argentinian veterans as Gille and Vliegen marched to the finish line to take the match and the Swedish Open title after winning the tiebreak with a score of 10-5. After a 1 hour and 50 minute battle on Centre Court, Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen cried out in joy upon winning the first ATP tour title of their careers.
Congratulations to Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen, Swedish Open 2019 Doubles Champions.