07:23 AM GMT September 16, 2018
For the third straight year, Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares have lifted a hat trick of titles on the ATP World Tour. The British-Brazilian team, which has reached five tour-level finals in 2018, started the season strong with a runner-up finish on their first outing in Doha and has continued to impress throughout the year.
With a maiden ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title to their names and two further crowns at 500-level, Murray and Soares are well placed to make their third consecutive trip to the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals, to be held 11-18 November at The O2 in London. The 2016 and 2017 semi-finalists, currently occupying fifth place in the ATP Doubles Race To London, have compiled a 33-14 record this season.
Following on from their opening-week final appearance at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open (l. to Marach/Pavic), Murray and Soares fell to a Round of 32 defeat at the Australian Open. A final-set tie-break loss cut short their attempts to claim a second title in three years at Melbourne Park, but Murray and Soares recovered well, with strong performances in February.
After a semi-final showing in Rio de Janeiro, the duo picked up their first trophy of the season in Acapulco. Murray and Soares did not drop a set en route to successfully defending their crown, beating Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan in the championship match.
After a disappointing clay-court season, Murray and Soares reached their third final of the season at the grass-court Fever-Tree Championships, defeating top-seeded Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic en route to the championship match. They followed that final run with another trip to the Wimbledon quarter-finals, their second in three years.
But Murray and Soares' best results were still to come, with the third-year pairing recording 11 wins from 13 matches on the hard courts of North America. The Acapulco titlists added two further trophies to their collection, firstly at the Citi Open and then again at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, where the fourth seeds captured their first Masters 1000 crown.
“For me to win my first Masters  is obviously really exciting,” said Murray. “[It was an] awesome week for us. To win the matches that we did against top teams that are probably going to play in London… We played really good in the important moments and kept it together well.”
“It means a lot. That is what we play tennis for, to win the big ones,” said Soares. “We’re playing great. We’ve been playing great since we got to D.C., and I’m extremely happy with everything. [It is the] first title for us at a [Masters] 1000 event, hopefully we can get many more.”
After reaching the US Open quarter-finals in New York without dropping a set, Murray and Soares looked well placed to challenge for their third Grand Slam trophy. But a shock loss to unseeded pairing Radu Albot and Malek Jaziri brought their campaign to an abrupt end.
But Murray and Soares look set to make it three consecutive years of qualifying at the Nitto ATP Finals in November. The question is, if they get there, could they make it third time lucky and advance beyond the final-four stage?