Indian Wells is here, and Doubles Take gives you a look at what to expect over the course of the tournament.
One of the crown jewels on the ATP and WTA calendars, Indian Wells offers intriguing match-ups from the first ball on. This year, there’s an added incentive for some of the players who happen to be doubling up: a seven-figure bonus for title-winning runs in both disciplines.
Here’s a look at the tournament’s two draws.
Recent successes in the desert will be fresh on the mind of two players near the top of the draw.
Last year, Elena Vesnina captured the biggest singles title of her career in Indian Wells. Vesnina and her longtime partner Ekaterina Makarova are the top seeds in doubles this year. The duo won the title back in 2013, and Vesnina’s captured it on two other occasions.
Yung-Jan Chan took the doubles crown in 2017 with the recently retired Martina Hingis as their title-winning run started a season of dominance. Chan is seeded second this year with her younger sister, Hao-Ching Chan. Yung-Jan's partner for the first few months of the season, Andrea Sestini Hlavackova, is teaming up with Monica Niculescu. The fifth seeds took out Karolina Pliskova and Kristyna Pliskova in their opener.
Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic are seeded fourth and will be going for their second major title after kicking off the season with a win at the Australian Open.
Babos is out of the running for the $1 million bonus, having lost her opening singles match. Ashleigh Barty and CoCo Vandeweghe, two members of the Top 20 in singles vying for the jackpot, teamed up but drew an insurmountable task in Gabriela Dabrowski and Yifan Xu (falling in a deciding tiebreaker on Thursday).
Kiki Bertens and Johanna Larsson, who were seeded seventh, are also already out, having lost their opener to Demi Schuurs and Elise Mertens.
Last year, Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram took home the title over Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo on Ram’s birthday.
The defending champs are back this year—but with different partners.
Klaasen is teaming up with Michael Venus and the unseeded duo will be going for their second title of the year. Their campaign kicks off against another dangerous floater, Australian Open finalists Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah. Ram is partnering Ivan Dodig and they’re seeded eighth in the tournament.
Last year's finalists Kubot and Melo are the top seeds, followed by Henri Kontinen and John Peers. Both of those teams, who dominated much of last year, kicked off their 2018 campaigns with victories at the warm-up tournaments leading up to the Australian Open, but have been outside the winners’ circle for weeks now.
The early-season MVPs have been Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic. The team won three tournaments in a row in January, including the Australian Open. They’re seeded third in Indian Wells, followed by last week’s champs in Acapulco, Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares.
Indian Wells always attracts more than its share of singles stars to the doubles draw and this year is no exception. Among the intriguing matchups is Juan Martin del Potro and Grigor Dimitrov taking on 2016 French Open champs Feliciano Lopez (a singles star in his own right) and Marc Lopez. Bob and Mike Bryan open up against Alexander Zverev and his older sibling Mischa in a battle of brothers.
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