One year ago, Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic arrived in Indian Wells with an 18-2 record and three titles on the season. This time, they were 4-6. But the 2018 year-end No. 1 ATP Doubles Team is finding its form, defeating seventh seeds Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus 6-4, 6-7(5), 10-5 in one hour and 39 minutes to reach the BNP Paribas Open semi-finals.
Klaasen and Venus claimed their first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting against Marach and Pavic last year at the Rogers Cup, also in a Match Tie-break. But the Austrian-Croatian team won 50 per cent of their return points in the Match Tie-break this clash to earn the victory.
Marach and Pavic advanced to the semi-finals of the first ATP Masters 1000 event of the year in 2018, losing to eventual champions John Isner and Jack Sock. They will hope to avoid the same fate in the next round when they face Nikola Mektic and Horacio Zeballos, who upset fifth seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 3-6, 7-5, 10-6 in one hour and 38 minutes.
This is just the second tournament at which Mektic and Zeballos have competed together. Last season, Mektic and Alexander Peya qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals. However, Peya is out due to injury. Mektic and Zeballos won two fewer points than their opponents in the quarter-finals, but they rallied from down a set to triumph.
In the final doubles match of the day, sixth seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo battled past Dominic Inglot and Franko Skugor 4-6, 6-2, 10-6 in one hour and 23 minutes. The Polish-Brazilian duo will play Novak Djokovic and Fabio Fognini for a spot in the final.
Did You Know?
All eight remaining players in the doubles draw are pursuing their first title in Indian Wells. Djokovic has captured the singles crown in the desert five times.