Is it karma? Is it destiny? Is it purely living on the edge?
Whatever it is, Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Jurgen Melzer have enjoyed a remarkable run to the championship match of the Nitto ATP Finals in London, adding their latest storybook chapter on Saturday evening.
Here's what's gone down just over the past week for the Frenchman and Austrian: (All photos by Getty Images)
They were the final team to qualify for the season finale, and had competition on their heels until the very end. Melzer and Roger-Vasselin were forced to reach the final in Sofia just before the event, in order to fight off Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski. The Brits would end up claiming that crown when Melzer pulled out in advance with a shoulder issue.
The two lost their opener at The O2 Arena and then faced five match points in their second-round robin contest against John Peers and Michael Venus. Roger-Vasselin and Melzer would find a way to win, 12-10, in the deciding match tiebreaker.
When the updated scenarios were revealed after Friday's first doubles match, Melzer and Roger-Vasselin learned they were required to defeat Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos in straight sets in order to make it out of Group Bob Bryan, The Spaniard and Argentine led 5-3, but couldn't close it out.
Then, a surprising stroke of fate arrived. Granollers pulled up with a right shoulder injury and after playing one point in the first set tiebreaker, decided he could no longer continue. With his retirement, Roger-Vasselin and Melzer received the straight-set victory they needed in accordance with the ATP Rulebook, and thus, ended the hopes of Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares.
In Saturday's semifinals, the duo lost their opening set tiebreaker to Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury. Melzer and Roger-Vasselin fought back to force a winner-take-all set, only to fall behind 1-7. As they chipped away at the deficit, the two stared down match point at 8-9, before winning the final three points to battle back from the brink of defeat again.
With that outcome, Melzer and Roger-Vasselin denied Ram and Salisbury the year-end No. 1 team ranking, giving Pavic and Soares a consolation prize to celebrate (the Croatian and Brazilian are going their separate ways next season). Melzer and Roger-Vasselin will battle US Open finalists Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic for the trophy on Sunday.
"We had a great talk all together with our coach. I think it was after Vienna," Roger-Vasselin said in his virtual press conference Saturday.
"We said, 'okay, we need to be much more positive on the match', because sometimes if we are like a break down, we feel that we can be more positive to try to come back. This is I think the key of our success the last 10, 15 days. Just be positive. Even if something bad happened to us like a bad shot, bad call, whatever happens, be positive, try to win the next point and fight till the end."