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Marach and Pavic take men's doubles crown

  • Alex Sharp
  • Luke Hemer

Unbeaten in 2018, three titles to their name and tears of joy. 

Now Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic are men’s doubles Grand Slam champions for the first time, after they put in a clinical display to beat 11th-seeded Colombian duo Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 6-4 6-4 under the bright lights at Rod Laver Arena on Saturday night. 

Marach and Pavic, the No.7 seeds, built momentum for Melbourne with title runs at Doha and Auckland, before soaring through the draw at Australian Open 2018. 

“I’m a little bit speechless. This guy (Pavic) didn’t even know we had won in the last game. I cannot believe it,” Marach said. 

“We’ve had an unbelievable run, I hope we can continue like this throughout the year, I’ve enjoyed every minute we have had on the court together. 

“I hope we can return to retain our title.” 

In the opening set, Pavic struck a ferocious forehand return winner to chalk up a maiden break point on the Cabal delivery at 1-1, but the No.11 seeds just evaded trouble. 

Marach, at 37, was bidding to become the third Austrian to win a men’s doubles title at Melbourne Park in his 40th major showing. He was quickly forced to fend off a quartet of break points, which he capped with a well-disguised inside-in forehand down the line. 

Locked at 4-4, Pavic pounced at the net with laser-sharp reactions to cut a series of sublime volleys for the break. The Croatian backed up his prowess at the net to breeze through a rapid hold to clinch the opener. 

Marach faced surrendering serve again at 0-1, but his partner was on hand to swat away the volley at the net. 

At 3-4, the Croatian cut a forehand approach shot into the net to offer up break point to the Colombians, but a Cabal lob on the run scooped just long, and a final chance went begging. 

Instead, Marach dug a last-ditch volley up from his feet and Pavic ramped up the aggression with two ferocious forehands at his opponents to snatch away the decisive advantage. 

Marach, playing in his 12th Australian Open main draw, composed himself and served out victory to love, despite his partner being oblivious they had won the title, sparking jubilant scenes. 

“I was lost in the moment. We broke but, in my head, I thought it's 4-3,” admitted Pavic following his scoreboard error. 

“It was a great atmosphere, a really special moment for us,” reflected the Croatian, who is also in the mixed doubles final on Sunday alongside Gabriela Dabrowski.

Marach and Pavic, having narrowly fallen in five sets in the 2017 Wimbledon final, held their Grand Slam trophy aloft in just their fourth team appearance at the major.

“I opened my mobile, I have 200 messages. It's going to be a long night. With emotions and everything. I not going to sleep a lot," continued Pavic.

“I’m really happy with these two weeks, the beginning of this year. We still haven’t lost a match!”