History was made as number three-seeds Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins took the trophy in the first ever all-British ATP men’s doubles clash at Devonshire Park this afternoon.
Jamie Delgado and Ken Skupski stepped onto court alongside Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins to complete the final quartet, which was made up of players all representing Great Britain for the first time in recorded history.
Fleming and Hutchins were the highest ranked of three all-British pairs heading into the tournament but had to dig deep to overcome some tough competitors on their way to the final.
Just this morning, it looked as if they would be heading out of the tournament at the final hurdle as they resumed play one set and three games to four down from the previous day, when rain had caused a delay and subsequent postponement in proceedings.
Their opponents, Matthew Ebden and Donald Young, could not hold on to their lead, however, as a refreshed Fleming and Hutchins turned the score on its head to reach the final.
On the other hand, Delgado and Skupski had powered their way to the final, not dropping a set along the way and knocking out top seeds Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski in the first round.
They had booked their place in the final yesterday but the extra rest didn’t work in their favour, according to Hutchins.
“I think it helped that we played half a match this morning as we could get accustomed to the conditions out there, which were brutal.
“It worked quite well for us that it rained yesterday and we went into the final on a high after that comeback in the morning.”
Today it just wasn’t the underdog’s day though as Fleming and Hutchins recorded a 6-4 6-3 straight-sets victory over their compatriots and friends to take home the trophy – their third in as many finals.
Fleming said, “The conditions were real tough to play in but it was the same for both pairs. I don’t think anyone wanted to play in winds like that but we had to make sure we kept competing hard.
“There’s lots of us Brits doing well in the final at the moment so it was inevitable that we were going to meet in a final sooner or later. But it was a great day for all of us, great to share it with our friends and a great feeling to take the title.
“It was a fantastic day for the British.”