Droughts end, bikes get awarded, match points are fought off: What a week it was on the ATP and WTA tours. Doubles Take looks back and previews the action in the days ahead.
STILL ROLLING IN STUTTGART
At the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, Raquel Atawo defended her title, winning it with her new partner for 2018, Anna-Lena Groenefeld. On their way to victory, the duo defeated a couple of familiar opponents: In the quarters, they knocked off Atawo’s fellow defending champ, Jelena Ostapenko. In the title match, the American-German duo defeated Nicole Melichar and Kveta Peschke. Groenefeld and Peschke qualified for last year’s WTA Finals together after a strong campaign.
Along with the champions’ trophy and first-place prize money, Atawo and Groenefeld each received a Porsche bicycle.
We congratulate @Annagroenefeld and Raquel Atawo for winning this year's doubles title! The duo wins the final against Nicole Melichar and Kveta Peschke 6-4, 6-7(5), 10-5 and receives a Porsche Bike RX! ????♀️#PTGP2018 #porschetennis #passionreturns pic.twitter.com/NuGSScTMge— Porsche Tennis (@PorscheTennis) April 29, 2018
It’s not as fancy as the car singles champ Karolina Pliskova received, but they’ll be riding in style, nonetheless.
REIGNING IN SPAIN
With multiple Grand Slam champions in the draw, the Barcelona Open was exceptionally deep, yet it would come down two unseeded teams in the final.
Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez, the 2016 French Open champions, defeated defending champion Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi (who won last year with Florin Mergea) and Jean-Julien Rojer in straight sets in the final.
The customary champions’ dive was particularly symbolic this year: Lopez and Lopez ended a 21-year drought at the tournament for an all-Spanish winning team.
SURVIVAL INSTINCTS PAY OFF
Spurred on by upsetting No. 3 seeds Max Mirnyi and Philipp Oswald in the first round, Dominic Inglot and Franko Skugor rode that wave to capture the title at the Hungarian Open.
It wasn’t an easy journey, though. The duo fought off a match point in the semifinals against Marcin Matkowski and Nicholas Monroe, and in the final, rallied back after dropping the first set against Matwe Middelkoop and Andres Molteni.
FOUR IS THE MAGIC NUMBER
Last year, Shuai Zhang ended a four-year title drought in singles. Over the weekend, she accomplished that feat in doubles.
Zhang and countrywoman Chen Liang won the Istanbul Cup over Xenia Knoll and Anna Smith. Over the course of the week, the unseeded duo didn’t drop a set.
A LOOK AHEAD
The calendar is full for the men this week with three tournaments slated. In Estoril, Jean-Julien Rojer is teaming up with John Peers to lead the pack. Michael Venus, who won the title last year with Ryan Harrison, and Raven Klaasen are in the No. 2 spot.
At the BMW Open in Munich, Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo will look to end their title drought as the top seeds. It won’t be easy, though, in a deep draw that includes Ivan Dodig/Rajeev Ram, Nikola Mektic/Alexander Peya and Mirnyi/Oswald as the second-, third- and fourth-seeded teams, respectively.
The top-seeded teams at the Istanbul Open are Ben McLachlan and Nicholas Monroe, and Marcin Matkowski and Divij Sharan. Should both teams make it through to the final, Monroe and Matkowski will have some recent familiarity with each other as they just reached the semifinals in Budapest.
For the women, Czechs Andrea Hlavackova and Renata Voracova will get to enjoy home-crowd support at the Prague Open as the top seeds. Veronika Kudermetova and Olga Savchuk are the No. 2 seeds. Lurking in the draw is the unseeded duo of Liang Chen and Zhang Shuai, fresh off their Istanbul title. And in Rabat, Morocco, Barbora Krejcikova and Anna Smith sit atop the draw, followed by Alicja Rosolska and Abigail Spears, who’ve reached two semifinals together this year.
Follow Van on Twitter: @Van_Sias