So. Much. Doubles. It was one busy week for both tours. Doubles Take is here with your look back and preview of the major event in Madrid.
RAM (AND DODIG) TOUGH
It’s never too late to make a breakthrough as Rajeev Ram discovered at the BMW Open in Munich. The American captured his first clay-court title—and first title with fellow veteran Ivan Dodig. The duo was pushed to match tiebreaks in its first two matches, but then got in a groove, beating Tim Puetz and Jan-Lennard Struff and Nikola Mektic and Alexander Peya in straight sets in the semifinals and final, respectively.
BRITS BEAT THE ODDS
Cameron Norrie put an end to a nine-match losing doubles streak in emphatic fashion alongside countryman Kyle Edmund.
The Brits defied the odds and their respective challenges to take the title in Estoril—their first career ATP doubles title ever— with a straight-sets win over Wesley Koolhof and Artem Sitak.
With only one seeded team making it out of the first round, it was Norrie and Edmund—who’ve both had some solid moments on clay the past couple of months—who came out on top in the end.
YOUTH & EXPERIENCE PAY OFF
At the Morocco Open, Raluca Olaru and Anna Blinkova were pushed to the brink in their first two matches, which included a first-round upset of the fourth-seeded team. They rode that momentum to their first title together, beating Budapest champs Georgina Garcia Perez and Franny Stollar in the final.
It’s the first career title for 19-year-old Blinkova, while Olaru captured her seventh doubles crown.
REUNITED & IT FEELS SO GOOD
Dominic Inglot is finding the clay much to his liking this season. The Brit captured his second title in as many weeks, as he and Robert Lindstedt topped Nicholas Monroe and Ben McLachlan in the Istanbul Open final.
The former partners last won a title together back in 2015 in Winston-Salem. The Istanbul final triumph also represented a major milestone for Lindstedt as he won his 400th career match.
DELIGHTING THE HOME CROWD
At the Prague Open, one of the greatest Czech doubles players of all time managed to defend her title with a different partner this go-around. Kveta Peschke and American Nicole Melichar—coming off a final run in Stuttgart—took the title over Mihaela Buzarnescu and Lidziya Marozava.
Champions in Prague! Title #2! A very special moment for me to share with family and friends. Amazing teamwork with my awesome partner Kveta Peschke! Thank you to everyone for all your support #winners #wta #tennis #prague #tkspartapraha #yonex #mizuno #oakley #onwardsanduowards #letsgo #teamusa???????? #USTA #usatennis
Things move quickly on tour: Less than 48 hours after winning the title, Peschke and Melichar had to play their first-round match in Madrid, which they win in a deciding tiebreaker over Simona Halep and Irina-Camelia Begu.
NEWS & NOTES
This year's Bogota champs Dalila Jakupovic and Irina Khromacheva won their second title of the year at the $125,000 event in Anning, China. It was a particularly noteworthy moment for Khromacheva, who also captured the singles event by fighting off three match points in the final.
A LOOK AHEAD
The tours are reunited once again, this time in Madrid. On the men’s side, Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo will try to build upon their semifinal run in Munich as the top seeds. They’re followed in the draw by the “Masters,” Bob and Mike Bryan, who will be going for their fourth ATP 1000-level final in a row. As is the case with the Masters events, a number of dangerous unseeded teams abound, such as Barcelona winners Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez, and Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus, facing each other in the first round. After an opening bye, Munich champs Ivan Dodig and Rajeev Ram will play the winners of the match between Australian Open semifinalists Jan-Lennard Struff and Ben McLachlan and Indian Wells champs John Isner and Jack Sock.
On the women’s side, top seeds Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina will open up play against Daria Gavrilova and Su-Wei Hsieh, who picked up an impressive first-round victory over Kiki Bertens and Johanna Larsson. The second seeds are Czechs Andrea Hlavackova and Barbora Strycova, followed by Australian Open winners Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic, and Gabriela Dabrowski and Yifan Xu.
Fifth-seeded Latisha Chan and Bethanie Mattek-Sands make for an intriguing duo. They’re already through to the second round after beating Christina McHale and Shuai Peng in straight sets.
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