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Pair becomes first French duo to win U.S. Open title in doubles

Pierre-Hugues Herbert, right, of France, and Nicolas Mahut,

Pierre-Hugues Herbert, right, of France, and Nicolas Mahut, of France, hold the men's doubles final championship trophy after beating Jamie Murray, of the United Kingdom, and John Peers of Australia at the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. Credit: AP / David Goldman

Pierre-Hugues Herbert, half of the giddy team that had just become the first French pair to win a U.S. Open title in doubles, summed up his reaction with, "I think we don't understand right now what is happening."

His partner, Nicolas Mahut, begged to differ. "I do," Mahut said. "I do."

They had just defeated Brit Jamie Murray and his Australian partner, John Peers, 6-4, 6-4, Saturday. They ended the match with a 14-shot rally, a pinball-wizard exchange that brought all four men to the net and didn't end until the 24-year-old Herbert split Murray and Peers with a sharp forehand volley.

Despite the lower visibility of doubles, even casual tennis followers should recognize a couple of the finalists. Mahut is the fellow who lost the longest match in tennis history -- that 11-hour, five-minute Wimbledon ordeal with a 70-68 fifth set against John Isner in 2010

Murray, a 29-year-old doubles specialist who won the 2007 Wimbledon mixed-doubles title partnered with Jelena Jankovic, is the elder brother of Andy Murray, the 2012 Open and 2013 Wimbledon singles champion. Murray-Peers also were runners-up in this year's Wimbledon.

In singles last week, Mahut lost his second-round match to Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez after a first-round victory over American Sam Querrey. Herbert, ranked 92nd in singles, was not in the singles draw.

Last year, Herbert said, Mahut talked him into forming a partnership and they immediately stormed to the Australian Open final, losing to Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau.

"He believed in me and he said, 'Let's go do a year,' " Herbert said. "So, I mean, I'm so grateful to be here."

Sunday's's women's doubles final will feature top-seeded Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza against No. 4 Casey Dellacqua and Yaroslava Shvedova. Hingis, who won five major-tournament singles titles before leaving the sport in 2006, returned in 2013. She already has 2015 Wimbledon doubles and U.S. mixed doubles titles.

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