Getting to the final of the ATP Finals in London has been quite the journey from twelve months ago.
Last year Michael Venus (32) and Raven Klaasen (37) made they debut in London. A round robin exit was a sad ending to their debut year together but a year of plenty of positives.
For Mahut and Herbert the end of 2018 was a tough one to take. From 7-5 up they lost the final to Bryan/Sock 13-11 in the final tie-break as they looked to complete the ultimate set of all majors and the tour finals trophy.
Venus and Klaasen are yet to win a trophy at Masters 1000 or Grand Slam level so being a finalist in London was their biggest final of their careers.
Herbert and Mahut may have only won most of the major titles since they teamed up in 2015. All of the four Grand Slams completing the set this year in Melbourne and seven Masters 1000 titles including the sunshine double in 2016.
This year has however been different for the French pair. The ATP tour finals was only their 8th tournament of the year following multiple breaks throughout the year including a four month break between Monte-Carlo and Cincinnati.
Herbert wanted to focus on his singles more this year but there were rumours that feathers were ruffled when he opted to play doubles with Andy Murray at Wimbledon instead of Mahut.
It was the younger of the four, Herbert who got proceedings underway with a hold of serve and his volley set up three immediate break points.
Three faced and three saved. 1-1. Next up, they orchestrated three of their own which the French pair saved.
Next time around Herbert’s fantastic return of serve converted for a 3-1 lead and would then serve next.
Herbert continued to serve out and take advantage of the big moments in the first set and an ace put them a set up for the second year running at the London finale.
Losing the first set did not trouble Venus and Klaasen who re-grouped superbly well but the two teams still level at 3-3 after six games.
Lucky number seven for the French pair who found a break of serve and would be two games away from an incredible achievement.
At the second time of asking they had no trouble serving it out to add to their impressive partnership.