A new face joined some familiar stalwarts on the title-winning trail over the weekend. Doubles Take looks back and previews this week’s action.
JACKS OF ALL TRADES
The 2018 season hasn’t gone exactly to plan for Jack Sock, the top-ranked American male in singles.
Though he failed to defend his singles crown in Delray Beach, he captured the doubles title with fellow American Jackson Winthrow over his friend Nicholas Monroe and John-Patrick Smith.
Winthrow has been playing some strong tennis of late, having reached the doubles final in Ecuador a few weeks ago. This was his first career ATP title.
Since 2015, Hao-Ching Chan had won 13 titles going into the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Of those, 11 were won with her older sister, Yung-Jan. Their partnership has been somewhat sporadic lately, going back to last year when Yung-Jan teamed with Martina Hingis.
Hao-Ching hasn’t mixed it up so far in 2018, but might want to reconsider that as she and Zhaoxuan Yang won their first title together over veterans Su-Wei Hsieh and Shuai Peng.
THE SPANIARDS REIGN ONCE AGAIN
In the early 2010s, Fernando Verdasco and David Marrero were one of the most formidable teams on tour. In a two-year span, the Spaniards won six titles, including the ATP World Tour Finals in 2013. Best known for his singles play, though, Verdasco hasn’t done much on the doubles court the past few years, having played his last final in 2014 with Marrero.
At the Rio Open, the two looked like they were making up for lost time as they rallied to defeat Nikola Mektic and Alexander Peya for the title. And they put in the work to ensure the victory.
Verdasco nearly pulled off a tournament sweep, but lost in the singles final to Diego Schwartzman.
VENUS AND KLAASEN RISING
Last year, Michael Venus won his first Grand Slam doubles title at the French Open. Raven Klaasen, meanwhile, had another solid year that saw him take his second ATP Masters 1000 title in Indian Wells.
No longer partnering Ryan Harrison and Rajeev Ram, with whom they respectively shared those experiences with, Venus and Klaasen decided to team up this year and now have their first title together.
The new duo beat Marcus Daniell and Dominic Inglot for the title in Marseille. It was Klaasen’s 14th career triumph and Venus’ eighth.
It’s the men’s turn to take the court in Dubai for the ATP 500-level event. Already, though, there’s been an upset as top seeds Henri Kontinen and John Peers dropped their opener to Damir Dzumhur and Filip Krajinovic. Dzhumher appears to have the duo’s number as he Dusan Lajovic beat them at the Australian Open this year. The No. 2 seeds at the deep tournament are Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau.
There’s another ATP 500 tournament this week, too, in Acapulco, where Lukasz Kubot/Marcelo Melo and Oliver Marach/Mate Pavic are the top two seeds. Defending champs Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares are seeded third. On the women’s side in Acapulco, Anna Smith and Renata Voracova top the draw. Among those unseeded teams looking to punch a hole in the draw are Sloane Stephens and Monica Puig, both known for their singles play.
The men’s “Golden Swing” wraps up with the Brasil Open in Sao Paulo, where top seeds Pablo Cuevas and Horacio Zeballos are already through to the second round. This event will be the last tournament of native son Andre Sa’s career. The former doubles standout is playing with countryman Thomaz Bellucci and the Brazilians are already through to the quarterfinals.
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