Champions are crowned at the last big tournament before the French Open; plus, a look at the final tuneups. It’s all in this week’s Doubles Take.
“COLOMBIAN POWER,” INDEED
In Rome, Bruno Soares was out there hitting shots like this:
While Robert Farah’s racquet decided to take a break from the action—literally.
In the end, though, Farah and his partner Juan Sebastian Cabal got through their semifinal against Soares and Jamie Murray to reach the final in Rome, their second career championship match at the ATP Masters 1000 level.
Farah and Cabal came through in a battle against Pablo Carreno Busta and Joao Sousa to be crowned Masters champions for the first time.
Farah and Cabal, semifinalists at the French Open last year and Australian Open finalists in 2018, appear to be in good position for more Grand Slam success.
FIRST TIME'S THE CHARM
Demi Schuurs had a perfect start to 2018, winning titles in consecutive weeks to kick off the season. Ashleigh Barty entered the winners’ circle in doubles at the Miami Open with CoCo Vandeweghe for her first Premier Mandatory title.
Joining forces for the first time in Rome, the new partnership paid immediate dividends.
The Dutch/Aussie duo won the title over the second-seeded team of Andrea Hlavackova and Barbora Strycova. It’s the biggest triumph of Schuurs’ career, but they won’t be attempting a follow-up in Paris. Schuurs is playing the French Open with Elise Mertens, while Barty and Vandeweghe will team up again.
NEWS & NOTES
There’s a new name atop the men’s doubles rankings this week. Mate Pavic, who’s had a career season with Oliver Marach this year, is No. 1 now, becoming the first player from Croatia—male or female, singles or doubles—to reach the major milestone. The 24-year-old is also the youngest man in more than two decades to sit atop the rankings penthouse.
A LOOK AHEAD
It’s the last chance for players to get in some extra match play before the French Open begins as both tours have two events going on this week. One of the WTA events this week is in Strasbourg, France. Last year, Barty and her recently retired partner, Casey Dellacqua, won the title over sisters Hao-Ching and Yung-Jan Chan. The Chans returned to the event this year, but with different partners. Hao-Ching and Zhaoxuan Yang were the top seeds, but dropped their opening match. They have company on the sidelines for seeds as the No. 2 seeds in the draw, Shuko Aoyama and Renata Voracova also lost their first match.
In Nurnberg, Germany, Nicole Melichar and Kveta Peschke are the top seeds, followed by Kirsten Flipkens and Johanna Larsson. Demi Schuurs is partnering with the veteran Katarina Srebotnik here.
At the ATP tournament in Geneva, Switzerland, where Marach and Pavic are the top seeds, there’s already been a couple of upsets. Max Mirnyi and Philipp Oswald, the No. 3 seeds, and No. 4-seeded Marcelo Demoliner and Santiago Gonzalez are already out.
It almost looks like all of the tournaments are up for grabs: In Lyon, France, top seeds Jean-Julien Rojer and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi dropped their opener, too. There’s an unseeded team lurking in the draw there that’s quite intriguing: Jack Sock and Nick Kyrgios. If they don’t win, though, you can be sure they’ll be out there hitting plenty of tweeners and hot shots.
Follow Van on Twitter: @Van_Sias
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