Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic held their nerve in a Match Tie-break to prevail in an engrossing round-robin encounter on Monday at the Nitto ATP Finals, where the fourth seeds came through 6-4, 3-6, 10-7 against Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek.

After the teams split a hard-fought opening two sets in the Green Group clash, it was Mektic and Pavic who were clinical at key moments in the decider. Despite being pegged back from 4/1 to 7/7 in the Match Tie-break, the Croatian pair reeled off three points in a row to clinch a 92-minute victory.

“I think it was a good match overall,” said Pavic. “We had some up and downs during the match, but we managed to win it in a Match Tie-break. It is always kind of a lottery in a [Match Tie-break], a few points here and there. I guess it went to our side, and we are super happy to start off with a win. We did it also last year, and I would say it makes a bit of a difference.”

Both teams were precise with their delivery at key moments, with the first two sets being decided by a solitary break. Mektic admitted that the pacy conditions at the Pala Alpitour made staying in return games a challenge.

“The conditions are really, really fast,” said Mektic. “Last year I was surprised how fast it was, this year, maybe I got slower! It definitely feels very fast. The guys were serving amazing. They served so many aces and we are so happy to win. I’ve got to thank my partner was really playing amazing today, he definitely carried the team, and very happy to win.”

Mektic and Pavic are making their second consecutive Nitto ATP Finals appearance together, having reached the semi-finals on their debut as a team in 2021. The pair is chasing its sixth tour-level title of the season at an event where Mektic knows what it takes to go all the way — the 33-year-old won the trophy in 2020 in London alongside Wesley Koolhof.

“Every match feels like winning the tournament, how strong every team is and how well everyone is playing,” said Mektic. “Especially on these hard courts, I think every mistake matters a lot, so it’s going to be very interesting.”

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