Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic entered their final round-robin match on Friday with their semi-final spot already secured at the Nitto ATP Finals.
However, the Croatians still had a major role to play in the final Green Group standings, with their 7-6(4), 7-6(4) victory against Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios ensuring top seeds Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski joined the Croatians in the knockout stages.
Kokkinakis and Kyrgios held a 1-1 round-robin record heading into the clash, needing a win to reach the last four on debut in Turin. In a hard-fought clash, the Australians produced a strong serving performance, firing 17 aces and winning 90 per cent (46/51) of points behind their first delivery.
Mektic and Pavic are a tough team to crack, though, and they proved why during the 90-minute match, raising their level in both tie-breaks to finish the round-robin stage holding a perfect 3-0 record.
The fourth seeds’ victory means Koolhof and Skupski have qualified for the semi-finals. The Dutch-British tandem defeated Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek earlier to finish Green Group play at 2-1.
In an entertaining clash at the Pala Alpitour, Mektic and Pavic were sharp around the net, acting as a brick wall as they soaked up the Australian’s powerful baseline hitting to earn their 50th tour-level win together this year.
Mektic and Pavic, who fell at the semi-final stage in Turin last year, will face Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara in the last four on Saturday. Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury play Koolhof and Skupski in the other doubles semi-final.
The Croatians arrived in Turin seeking to become ATP Tour champions for the sixth time this year. They triumphed together at an ATP Masters 1000 event in Rome, while they also lifted trophies in Geneva, at The Queen’s Club in London, in Eastbourne and Astana.