The men say goodbye to the clay as both tours settle in on the hard courts in this week's Doubles Take.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Californian CoCo Vandeweghe had a week to remember in Stanford at the Bank of the West Classic. After finishing runner-up to her compatriot Madison Keys in the singles event, Vandeweghe made a return trip to the court for the doubles final with Abigail Spears to take on Alize Cornet and Alicja Rosolska.
Spears and Vandeweghe raced through the first set.
The all-American duo secured a break early in the second and rode it out to take the set, 6-3, and with it, the title.
For Vandeweghe, it was her second career doubles title, with the first coming in Indian Wells last year with Bethanie Mattek-Sands. Spears, the defending champion at the tournament, won her third Bank of the West Classic crown and first without longtime partner Raquel Atawo.
From the end of last year to the 2017 Australian Open, Henri Kontinen and John Peers looked nearly unstoppable, especially at the biggest events. But after reaching the top spot in the team rankings, they were unable to sustain any momentum.
Early losses abounded for months, but they showed signs of life at Wimbledon, where they reached the semifinals. And in their first tournament since then, at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C., they were able to assert themselves on a draw once again.
The pair captured their first 500-level tournament as a team with a straight-sets win over Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo in the title match. Kubot and Melo, the Wimbledon champions, entered the final on a 17-match winning streak, but Peers and Kontinen stopped it in emphatic fashion.
On the WTA Tour, the Citi Open has been held seven times.
Shuko Aoyama of Japan has been in the doubles finals five of those years.
Yesterday, she won her fourth title at the tournament—with her fourth different partner, Renata Voracova. The pair defeated Eugenie Bouchard and Sloane Stephens 6-3, 6-2. It was the first title of the year for both Aoyama and Voracova.
THE LAST FEAT ON CLAY
With the conclusion of the Generali Open in Kitzbuhel, Austria, that’s it for the men and clay in 2017 on the main tour. And the last champs are Pablo Cuevas and Guillermo Duran, who beat Hans Podlipnik-Castillo and Andrei Vasilevski 12-10 in the match tiebreak after the two teams split the first two sets.
Podlipnik-Castillo and Vasilevski were each playing in their first doubles final and came close to making their title-match debut a winning one. In the end, though, it was the more experienced pair that won out.
Cuevas, who won at the ATP 500 and ATP 1000 levels on clay already this year, captured his first 250-level event of the year. Duran captured his second tournament of the year, with both of them coming in a three-week span.
MAGIC IN MEXICO
“Colombian Power,” a.k.a. Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, has had an outstanding season this year in reaching five finals, winning two of them.
In Los Cabos, Cabal branched out as Farah recovers from an injury, and showed he’s still a threat. It helps, too, when you’re playing with a fellow doubles standout.
Cabal and Treat Huey—with a combined 44 doubles title matches between them—overwhelmed first-time finalists Sergio Galdos and Roberto Maytin, 6-2, 6-3.
For Huey, it’s his first title of the year in his second final, while Cabal hits the .500 mark in championship appearances for the year.
A LOOK AHEAD
All eyes are on Canada this week for the Rogers Cup.
The men, in their sixth ATP Masters 1000 event of the year, will be playing in Montreal. Defending champs Ivan Dodig and Melo are in the field—with different partners. Melo and Kubot, the No. 2 seeds, will be going for their second hard-court ATP 1000 win of the year, while Dodig partners Rohan Bopanna to make up the seventh-seeded team.
The field is led by Kontinen and Peers, as they aim for their second title in as many weeks. Typical of a Masters-level event, the draw is stacked.
The top seeds in the women's draw in Toronto are 2017 Wimbledon champions Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina, who’ve had a lot of success in singles on hard courts this year. Makarova is coming off her first singles title in three years in Washington last week.
The second seeds are all-surface threats Yung-Jan Chan and Martina Hingis, who have won on hard, clay and grass courts in their first year playing together. The No. 3-seeded team are the Czechs, Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova. For Safarova, it’s her first doubles event since Wimbledon, where her longtime partner, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, was injured.
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