Wimbledon is here! Before doubles play kicks off, here’s the Doubles Take preview.
At last year’s tournament, Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo captured their first Grand Slam title together, winning a five-set slugfest over Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic.
Much has happened for those two teams over the past year. Marach and Pavic, who made their run to last year’s championship match as the No. 16 seeds, are the top seeds this year. Based upon their play at the Grand Slams this year, the Australian Open champs and French Open finalists are the front-runners for the title. Their first big test could come against the No. 13 seeds Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus in the third round, and provided the seeds hold up, they could face two-time Slam champs Bruno Soares and Jamie Murray, the fifth seeds, in the quarterfinals.
The other section in the top half of the draw features two of this year’s Grand Slam success stories: French Open champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut and Australian Open finalists Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah. Herbert and Mahut, the 2016 Wimbledon champs, could be in store for a tricky second-rounder against the unseeded duo of Philipp Petzschner and Tim Puetz, who won Stuttgart this year. Cabal and Farah have a tough draw, as well: Provided they make it to the third round, their likely opponents would be Rohan Bopanna and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, the No. 12 seeds, who might have the edge on grass.
Kubot and Melo are the second seeds and could be tested right off the bat as they face wild cards Luke Bambridge and Jonny O’Mara. The Brits are coming off a win in Eastbourne, and won the Surbiton ATP Challenger a few weeks ago. Perhaps the most intriguing pair in this quarter is Mike Bryan and Jack Sock, the No. 7 seeds, who are teaming up while Bob Bryan is still sidelined. The two have faced each other a few times in doubles, most notably in 2014 when Sock and Vasek Pospisil beat the Bryans for the Wimbledon title.
Mike Bryan and Sock won a round in Queen’s Club before losing to Henri Kontinen and John Peers.
Kontinen and Peers, who went on to win that tournament, are the third seeds at Wimbledon. Their section of the draw presents some challenges—primarily in the form of No. 15-seeded Dominic Inglot/Franko Skugor, Antalya champs Marcelo Demoliner/Santiago Gonzalez and veterans Ivan Dodig/Rajeev Ram, the No. 10 seeds. But if their Queen’s run was any indication, Kontinen and Peers are peaking at just the right time.
For the third major in a row, there won’t be a defending champion in the draw: Ekaterina Makarova will be playing with her countrywoman Vera Zvonareva as her regular partner Elena Vesnina is out with an injury.
The top seeds are this year’s Australian Open champs Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic. Reuniting this year, the two have had past success at the All England Club, reaching the final back in 2014.
Babos and Mladenovic are drawn to face the No. 13 seeds Kirsten Flipkens and Monica Niculescu in the third round and Latisha Chan and Shuai Peng, the fifth seeds, in the quarters. Chan has struggled this year, though, and she and Peng could be knocked out early as they’re likely to face Nottingham champs Alicja Rosolska and Abigail Spears in the second round.
The other top-four team in that half of the draw is Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova. The third-seeded Czechs are coming off their first major title together at the French Open.
Their path is filled with veterans who’ve known Grand Slam success, like the No. 14 seeds Lucie Hradecka and Su-Wei Hsieh, and Raquel Atawo and Anna-Lena Groenefeld. Hao-Ching Chan and Zhaoxuan Yang, the seventh seeds who won Dubai this year, are also in this quarter.
Andrea Hlavackova and Barbora Strycova, another all-Czech team, are the second seeds. They’re in the section of the draw that includes “Team Bucie,” aka Lucie Safarova and Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who were going for the calendar-year Grand Slam at Wimbledon last year before Mattek-Sands’ career-threatening knee injury. Gabriela Dabrowski and Yifan Xu, who just won Eastbourne and are seeded sixth, are also in this quarter.
Though they have yet to experience any success in the Slams, Elise Mertens and Demi Schuurs have had a solid season. The pair has won two titles together in 2018 (among Schuurs’ five), including their most recent one in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. The eighth seeds are drawn to face Mallorca winners Andreja Klepac and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, the fourth seeds, in the quarters.
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