Great start . . .  Marcus Daniell [NZ, right] and Wesley Koolhof [Netherlands] celebrate victory after the Brisbane Masters’ doubles final on Sunday. PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

Wairarapa international scores fourth career win

TENNIS

Wairarapa’s international tennis player Marcus Daniell got the new year off to a great start when he won the Brisbane Masters doubles title on Sunday.

The unseeded Daniell and his Dutch partner Wesley Koolhof beat fourth seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury 6-4 7-6 [6] on Sunday.

The win meant Daniell and Koolhoff went one better than their previous best runners-up showing in Stockholm last season.

It was also a fourth career doubles title for each of the 29-year-olds.

“We started together on the grass last year, and we had some good results, we had some bad results,” Daniell said.

“There wasn’t quite enough consistency, and we had a really big deep chat at the end of the year about what we needed to work on individually and as a team to be a competitor for the top eight at the end of 2019.

“I think we both went away and put a lot of time and effort into those things, and I think it’s paying off.

“The feeling that we’ve had from the first practice here this week has been great, and just built on it match after match, and it’s about as good of start for the year as you could ask and we’re just going to keep building on it.”

Daniell and Koolhof had narrowly edged Australians John-Patrick Smith and John Millman in a match tie-break in the semifinals to reach Sunday’s decider before seeing off the first seeded pairing they had encountered in the draw in
88 minutes.

“They’re actually pretty fair, the Aussie crowd,” Daniell said. “Obviously they’re behind the Aussies [in the semifinals], but if we played a great point, there was some noise for that, which is more than you can ask for really. It’s pretty special.

“It is. It’s a big crowd, big court, and to be able to play two matches on centre court in a row, for doubles, it’s not that common,” Koolhof said.

Daniell’s earlier doubles titles came in 2010 Auckland [with Horia Tecau], 2015 Montpellier [with fellow-Kiwi Artam Sitak] and 2016 Stuttgart [Sitak].

They now head to Auckland, where they were to face a South American pair of Argentinian Leonardo Mayer and Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas in the ASB Classic opening round.

Brisbane Masters doubles final result: Marcus Daniell [NZ]-Wesley Koolhof [Netherlands] bt 4-Rajeev Ram [US]-Joe Salisbury [Britain].

– TENNIS NZ