Doubles action has kicked off at the French Open and here’s your first look at what to expect. And since it’s a Grand Slam, Doubles Take will be here every day of the tournament.
FRENCH OPEN: THE MEN
The clay has been particularly kind this spring to several teams—and individual players, too. That’s evident in the first-round match between the No. 8-seeded team of Nikola Mektic/Alexander Peya—winner of two titles recently—and Dominic Inglot/Franko Skugor, who won Budapest together. Metkic and Peya prevailed in straight sets on Tuesday.
Or look at Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, 2018 Rome champs, who are seeded No. 5 and faced U.S. Clay Court winners Max Mirnyi and Philipp Oswald first up. Cabal and Farah needed two tiebreak sets to advance.
No. 2 seeds Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic, the winningest team on tour so far in 2018, just gave a demonstration of their clay-court prowess with the title in Geneva. They'll start on Wednesday.
While a number of teams are entering the French Open with momentum on their side, two of the top three seeds have yet to find their comfort zone on the dirt. Lukasz Kubot/Marcelo Melo and Henri Kontinen/John Peers could see their struggles continue in the early rounds of the tournament.
One threat to the prospects of the teams in the draw has already been removed. Bob and Mike Bryan didn't compete together due to an injury to Bob's hip. Mike, however, partnered with fellow American Sam Querrey, losing in the first round.
Michael Venus, who won the tournament with Ryan Harrison last year, is partnering Raven Klaasen in 2018.
FRENCH OPEN: THE WOMEN
Like the men’s tournament, there isn’t a team defending its title. Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who won her second French Open with Lucie Safarova last year, is playing with Yung-Jan Chan, while Safarova is partnering Svetlana Kuznetsova.
The bid for a calendar-year Grand Slam is in play as Australian Open champs Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic headline the draw, followed by Andrea Hlavackova and Barbora Strycova.
Missing among the top seeds is the Russian duo of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina. The 2013 French Open champions were on the verge of reaching the top spot in the rankings this spring before deciding to play with other partners for the foreseeable future.
There are serious contenders for the title among the lower seeds, such as Stuttgart winners Raquel Atawo and Anna-Lena Groenefeld, and Elise Mertens and Demi Schuurs. Perhaps the most intriguing pair in the tournament, though, happens to be one of the greatest doubles teams of all time at the Grand Slam level.
Venus and Serena Williams took a wild card into the event as Serena works her way back into form. While it isn’t clear what their level of play will be like at this point, the two-time French Open champions are always dangerous whenever they decide to team up.
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