When Jimmy Van Alen introduced the tiebreak to the tennis world in 1965, he predicted that matches were going to become much more exciting. Everyone who watched the doubles final today on Stadium Court at the 2010 BMW Tennis Championship would agree that Van Alen's invention was a major success.
In a match filled with big serves, quick volley exchanges and frequent momentum changes, the unseeded team of Martin Damm (CZE) and Filip Polasek (SVK) upset the No. 5 doubles team in the world, Lukas Dlouhy (CZE) and Leander Paes (IND), 4-6, 6-1 (13-11).
When Paes and Dlouhy, the current French and U.S. Open champions, breezed to a 4-0 lead in the first set, it looked as if they were destined to easily win the set, and perhaps the match. With Paes blanketing the net, the top-seeded team played with confidence. Damm and Polasek, on the other hand, weren't playing with any certainty and Polasek made several unforced volley errors.
However, Damm and Polasek hung tough. Making more returns and fewer unforced errors, they won four of the next five games to cut their deficit to 4-5. Paes, calling on all his experience, held serve to win the set and temporarily slow the momentum of the newly energized team of Damm and Polasek.
Using every bit of their new-found confidence and momentum, Damm and Polasek began an amazing run to build a 5-0 lead in the second set, which Polasek served out to win 6-1. The confidence shift to the unseeded team, which had begun in the first set, was even bigger than the score indicates, as Damm and Polasek won 10 of the last 13 games.
In the third-set tiebreak, Paes and Dlouhy called on their experience and built a seemingly insurmountable 6 -1 lead. As they had done earlier in the match, though, Damm and Polasek began to slowly chip away at the top-seeds' lead, and fought back to 4-8. Since this was a 10-point tiebreaker, they had hardly any room for error.
Paes won his next service point and, leading 9-4, earned five consecutive Championship points. Here, Damm and Polasek performed their second return from the dead:
At 4-9......Match Point 1 - Polasek serves wide to Dlouhy, whose return goes long and wide.
At 5-9......Match Point 2 - Polasek hits a big serve that Paes returns into the net.
At 6-9......Match Point 3 - Dlouhy double faults.
At 7-9......Match Point 4 - Dlouhy serves to Polasek, who passes Paes up the line as Paes attempts to poach.
At 8-9......Match Point 5 - Polasek poaches and cuts off Dlouhy's return for a winner to tie the score at 9-9.
At 9-10....Match Point 6 - Paes serves to Damm, who volleys into the bottom of the net.
At 10-11..Match Point 7 - Polasek serves to Dlouhy, who returns long.
Learning an important lesson from Paes and Dlouhy, who wasted seven chances to win, Damm and Polasek kept it simple. They took advantage of their first match point at 12-11 to win the the match and the 2010 BMW Tennis Championship Doubles title, their first title of the year.
Story by Tony Angeline, BMW Tennis Championship Media Staff March 21, 2010