Welcome back to Doubles Take, the weekly feature where we look at teamwork in action on the ATP and WTA tours, as well as other news and notes.
Indian Wells, considered by some to be the unofficial “Fifth Grand Slam” was the scene last week for the men and women. Particularly on the men’s side, you tend to see more of the top singles players getting in on the doubles action at the tournament. For instance, Rafael Nadal teamed with up Bernard Tomic and Novak Djokovic played with Viktor Troicki to knock out the top seeds, Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray also played (though not with each other), as did Nick Kyrgios.
At the end, it was one of the tour’s standout teams, Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram, that prevailed.
There wasn’t as much double duty happening among the top women in the desert, but with a lineup including “Team Bucie” (Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova) and the Russian pairing of Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova, you knew whoever would be crowned champion had to go through a gauntlet. Perhaps surprisingly, it was one of the newer teams that came through.
Here’s a look back at Indian Wells.
Since becoming full-time partners last year, American Ram and South African Klaasen have been one of the tour’s best teams. They finished 2016 on a high note by reaching the championship match at the ATP World Tour Finals and had already won a title in 2017 in Delray Beach. In Indian Wells, they scraped and clawed their way to the title match, beating Nadal and Tomic, Djokovic and Troicki and Gilles Muller and Sam Querrey along the way.
Waiting for them in the final were doubles standouts Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo. For the fourth time in five matches, it came down to a deciding breaker for Klaasen and Ram, and once again, they managed to win their second title of the year and first ATP Masters 1000 event.
It was Ram’s 33rd birthday and it’s hard to imagine a better prize than taking home the biggest title of your career.
Third Time's the Charm
Perhaps it would be Mattek-Sands and Safarova, dancing their way to the title. Or maybe Vesnina and Makarova winning it all. (Well, Vesnina managed to do OK for herself at the BNP Paribas Open—and in the eyes of Baseline, too.)
Nope: It was the new team of Hall of Famer Martina Hingis and Yung-Jan Chan—playing in only their third tournament together—who came away with the title. The No. 6 seeds defeated Lucie Hradecka and Katerina Siniakova in straight sets in the final.
Hingis continues to amaze as a doubles player in her most recent act.
Consolation Prize Worthy
Bruno Soares and Jamie Murray might have lost in the semifinals to Kubot and Melo, but they deserve recognition for this shot:
A Look Ahead
The next stop for your favorite pros on both tours is the Miami Open, another one of the biggest events outside of the Grand Slams.
Last year, it was all about the “Sunshine Double” (winning Indian Wells and Miami back-to-back) as Mahut and Herbert completed it with their Miami win, and Mattek-Sands pulled it off for the women with two different partners: CoCo Vandeweghe in Indian Wells and Safarova in Miami.
You probably won’t see as many singles stars in the men’s draw like you did in Indian Wells, but the action is going to be top-notch.