After saving three match points to survive a tense second set against Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek during Roland-Garros men’s doubles final, there was an air of inevitability in the play of Jean-Julien Rojer and Marcelo Arevalo as they marched through a second-set tiebreak.
The 12th-seeded tandem from Curacao and El Salvador topped the unseeded Croatian and American duo 6-7(4), 7-6(5), 6-3 on Court Philippe-Chatrier to make history on many different levels.
The 40-year-old Caribbean born Rojer becomes the oldest Grand Slam doubles champion in Open Era history, while Arevalo becomes El Salvador’s first ever Slam champion, and the first from Central America.
Rojer told the crowd he was really proud of his milestone. He knows he’s getting older and it makes these moments that much more special, because you don’t know how many times you have left to play on such a beautiful court at these grand slam tournaments.
Rain came pouring down in Paris on Saturday after the women’s final, and the roof remained closed for the entirety of the match as the storm persisted, but the unique conditions didn’t affect the quality of play.
Krajicek and Dodig held form for nearly all of the second set but the tides would turn in the 12th game, when Rojer saved three championship points while serving to force a tiebreak.
Arevalo and Rojer soldiered through a tight tiebreak, Rojer tapping a backhand volley winner to seal the set, and the pair carried their momentum forward into the decider.
The pair created two break points with Krajicek serving, and Rojer cracked a clean forehand winner on the second to put his team ahead 4-2.
Two games later Arevalo stepped to the service line and handled his business with aplomb, serving out the title at love as joyous bedlam ensued.
Dodig and Krajicek, who saved five match points against top-seeded Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury in the quarter-finals and toppled the No.8, No.1 and No.4 seeded duos to reach their first Grand Slam final as a team, were formidable on serve throughout the first two sets.
During the trophy ceremony the El Salvadorian gave genuine praise and thanks to his wife.
Roland Garros / ABC Shoco Sports News 2022.