Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek are off the mark at the Nitto ATP Finals.
Competing together in Turin for the second time, the top-seeded duo notched its first match win at the prestigious season finale by downing Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni 6-4, 6-2 on Sunday at the Pala Alpitour.
The opening game of the 2023 Nitto ATP Finals featured a stunning back-and-forth point at 30/30, which included a behind-the-back reaction half-volley from Molteni before Dodig powered a forehand winner. That outcome proved to be a sign of things to come, as Dodig and Krajicek held firm in a series of important moments to clinch a 77-minute victory in Green Group.
“It was very important. I think we played a great match today,” Dodig told ATPTour.com. “To win 6-4, 6-2 is a great start for us. It’s still the group stage and it’s the first match, but it was very nice to play today in a full stadium. We had a good time, great fun with a good crowd, so great to be back in Turin and great to start with a win.”
The Croatian-American pair won three deciding points in the first set, including in the opening two games of the match, to move ahead inside the Pala Alpitour. They then broke their seventh-seeded opponents Gonzalez and Molteni twice in the second set to avenge their defeat in their only previous Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting with the Argentines in the Cincinnati semi-finals in August.
Currently leading the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Teams Rankings, Dodig and Krajicek are one of five teams competing at the Nitto ATP Finals that could end the year as the Tour’s top team. Sunday’s win was a confidence-boosting start to Dodig and Krajicek’s campaign in Turin, where they lost all three of their group-stage clashes in Match Tie-breaks in 2022.
“Last year we lost three matches in difficult situations,” said Dodig. “This year we’ve come better prepared. Through the year we have played consistently and are the best team, for now. There is more confidence, and it’s all about the big points and how you play them. We’re really happy about today. Those couple of big points, we played well.”
Krajicek is competing at the Nitto ATP Finals for the second time this year. Dodig is making his ninth appearance at the season finale, where he reached the championship match in 2014 alongside Marcelo Melo.