New York: Under the roof in Arthur Ashe Stadium, with a sea of raucous supporters in yellow Colombian soccer jerseys surrounding them in the stands, the reigning Wimbledon champions and No. 1 seeds, Colombian duo Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, defeated No. 8 seeds Marcel Granollers of Spain and Horacio Zeballos of Argentina, 6-4, 7-5, to claim the 2019 US Open men’s doubles title. They are just the third men’s doubles team since 2003 to win both Wimbledon and the US Open in a single season and are the first South American team ever to lift the US Open trophy in the Open era. The Colombian word No. 1 team are coached by South African former pro Jeff Coetzee with Australian Jayson Mathiou their touring physiotherapist.
Cabal and Farah are having their best year on tour, making the semifinals at Roland Garros in addition to their Wimbledon victory. But there were no guarantees today. Granollers and Zeballos, who partnered up just this past summer at the Canadian Masters, maintained a perfect 10-0 record coming into Friday’s final, and, like the No. 1 seeds, had only dropped one set all tournament. And to be sure, the early exchanges were crackling, featuring lengthy net rallies, incredible gets, and both teams working the geometry of the court to their advantage. Cabal and Farah were just that much steadier on serve. In the first set, they created break point opportunities on both Granollers’ and Zeballos’ serves while never facing a single break point on their own. At 4-4, with Zeballos serving, they finally converted and served it out to take a one-set lead.
Then, as the second unfolded, drama began to set in. Cabal and Farah again had the easier time holding serve, and they created six break point opportunities through the first five games, converting zero of them. At 4-3, Farah double faulted to give Granollers and Zeballos their first break points of the entire match. As Farah dumped a volley into the net, they converted on their first opportunity (and as it would later turn out, their only opportunity) to allow Zeballos to serve it out and even the score.
But Zeballos struggled to put a first serve in play, and the No. 1 seeds pounced, immediately breaking back. Granollers and Zeballos had no answers after that, and managed to win just three more points in the match. On championship point, Cabal put away a return that fell short in the court, and Farah collapsed to the ground. As has become tradition after the Colombian duo wins, Cabal’s young son ran out onto the court to hug the winners and instantly charm the crowd.
Cabal and Farah have now collected five men’s doubles trophies (and counting) in 2019. They now have won the last two majors and undoubtedly go into the Asian swing and the Australian Open as the men’s doubles team to beat. After the triumph, however, Farah had other thoughts on his mind. During the trophy ceremony, he spoke emotionally to the crowd about Roberto Cocheteux—one of the foremost supporters and sponsors of tennis in Colombia—who had passed away right before the tournament.
“We couldn’t go to his burial because we had to stay here,” Farah said, while Cabal choked back tears. “It was very tough for us, and so we said we would dedicate this tournament to him, and there’s no better way to dedicate [a tournament] than to win it.”
Added Cabal, “We’re living a dream. It was really difficult times two weeks ago. We made a decision to fight for it, to play for him and we honor him right now. We’re happy we can do this for him, and hopefully he is in the sky watching us.”
It was quite a clean doubles final from both teams. Cabal/Farah committed 32 winners to just 8 unforced errors, while Granollers/Zeballos combined to hit 23 winners to just 8 unforced errors.