We’re saying goodbye to the grass and congrats to the players who really know how to take advantage of their Sunday afternoons in this week’s Doubles Take.
TWICE AS NICE ON THE WTA TOUR
What can make an afternoon even better after winning a singles title? How about capping it off with a doubles victory, too?
It’s something Irina-Camelia Begu pulled off on Sunday. After winning the singles title at the Bucharest Open, the Romanian gave the home crowd another thrill. She and countrywoman Raluca Olaru, the top seeds, won the doubles final over Elise Mertens and Demi Schuurs, 6-3, 6-3.
Not to be outdone, over in Gstaad, Switzerland, Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands pulled off the same feat. After capturing her second singles title of the year, she teamed up with Johanna Larsson to win the doubles crown with a 7-6 (4), 4-6, 10-7 victory over Viktorija Golubic and Nina Stojanovic. It’s the seventh title for the Bertens-Larsson combo.
Bertens and Begu join another “Killer B” in Ash Barty as players who’ve pulled off the singles-doubles sweep in 2017.
AN END—AND A NEW BEGINNING
Rajeev Ram won two singles titles in his career, both in Newport, R.I. It’s also where he just probably played his last singles match. The American said he is retired from that discipline to focus on doubles and the decision reaped immediate dividends. After losing in the first round in singles, Ram went on to win his third doubles title of the year (with Aisam Ul-Haq Qureshi) to beat the Australian duo of Matt Reid and John-Patrick Smith, 6-4-4-6, 10-7.
Playing together for the first time, Ram and Qureshi each won their second Newport doubles title. Between ATP Challengers and the ATP Tour, this was the fifth doubles title for Qureshi this year—and his third on grass.
Perhaps the biggest feat for the winning team came in the semifinals, when they rallied to beat Leander Paes and Sam Groth—saving eight match points in the process.
Ram couldn’t have asked for a better start to his doubles-only decision.
ARGENTINES ON TOP IN UMAG
The last time Marin Draganja made a doubles final before reaching the title match in Croatia was last year in Marrakesh last year, when he and Qureshi lost to Gullermo Duran and Maximo Gonzalez of Argentina.
A rematch against Duran didn’t work out in his favor this time, either. Duran and another countryman, Andres Molteni, beat Draganja and his brother Tomislav on the Croatians’ home turf to take the title in Umag. It’s the second title of the year for Molteni and Duran’s first since Morocco.
HOW SWEDE IT IS
YES WE CAN !!! What a week it's been for us. I couldn't be happier right now, it means the world to me to win a title again @ my favorite tournament @swedishopen ! Thx to philipp for fighting hard with me. it's a very special moment for me. thx to my coach @ginggatto for putting a lot of effort in my daily work, without him i wouldn't be here! #atpworldtour #title #19##lottosport #lottosportitalia #headtennis #swedishopen #bastad #ageisjustanumber #happy
Julian Knowle may have had the best week ever. The veteran doubles standout got to meet his idol Stefan Edberg during the Swedish Open, and catch up with is former partner Simon Aspelin—with whom he won the US Open with in 2007.
Coming off his third ATP Challenger doubles title of 2017 the week prior, the Austrian continued his winning ways, capturing the tournament in Bastad with Philipp Petzschner against Sander Arends and Matwe Middelkoop.
It’s Knowle’s first title on the ATP Tour in three years, when he teamed up with Andre Begemann to win in Halle.
If only every tournament was in Sweden…
A LOOK AHEAD
The summer U.S. hard-court season officially kicks off this week with the men's tournament in Atlanta. The top seeds are Bob and Mike Bryan, who face a tough opener against Newport finalists Reid and Smith. French Open champions Ryan Harrison and Michael Venus are the second seeds.
And while the hard-court season might be getting in gear, it's not time to say goodbye to the clay yet. The men have two other tournaments on the docket: Hamburg, where the top seeds are Croatians Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic, and Gstaad, where the field is led by Marcus Daniell and Marcelo Demoliner, who will look to make their fourth career final together, and third of 2017.
The women are mixing it up, too: There's the hard-court tournament in Nanchang, China, where the top seeds are Shuai Zhang and Kai-Chen Chang, and the clay-court event in Bastad, led by Nicole Melichar and Anna Smith, who will be going for their second title of the year.
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