French pair Mahut and Herbert win men's doubles at Roland Garros
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Frenchmen Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert put a silver lining on the home players' miserable run at the French Open by winning the men's doubles on Saturday, becoming only the third all-French pair in the Open era to win at Roland Garros.
Prior to the final, the French duo had been mostly noticed for a freak accident that occurred during their semi-final on Thursday, when a ball from Herbert accidentally struck his partner in the left temple and knocked him out.
Mahut again collapsed to the ground after Saturday’s final, but this time in celebration. With their Davis Cup captain Yannick Noah watching from the stands, he and Herbert claimed their third Grand Slam title together, and their first at Roland Garros, defeating Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic 6-2, 7-6 (4).
"You can't imagine how happy I am," said 36-year-old Mahut, who lost in the final five years ago to the Bryan brothers when playing with Michael Llodra. "Five years ago, it was so difficult I could not talk. I did not know if I would get another chance."
Capping a disappointing fortnight for French players, none of whom progressed beyond the last 16 in the singles tournaments, the doubles victory was especially sweet for the home fans, who were in full voice on Court Philippe Chatrier throughout the match.
The only other all-French pairs to have won the men’s doubles at Roland Garros are Julien Benneteau and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, in 2014, and Henri Leconte and Yannick Noah, in 1984.