China and Japan continue to showcase the best in team play; here’s Doubles Take with your weekly look at what’s going on.
A WEEK TO REMEMBER
Ben McLachlan is having quite the fall. Japan’s top doubles player picked up his second title in as many weeks, this time triumphing with Jan-Lennard Struff in Tokyo. The Australian Open semifinalists beat Wimbledon runner-ups Michael Venus and Raven Klaasen in the championship match.
What a week for @Struffitennis and Ben McLachlan!— ATP World Tour (@ATPWorldTour) October 7, 2018
They win their first ???? together at the @rakutenopen after a flawless performance over Klaasen/Venus.
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It’s the first career title for Struff, who also had a massive week in singles as he reached his first hard-court quarterfinal of the year, defeating Marin Cilic along the way.
BUOYANT IN BEIJING
At the China Open, two of the tours’ strongest pairings came out on top at the coed event. On the men’s side, Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo picked up their third title of the year. After going the distance in their first three matches, they beat top seeds Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic in straight sets in the final
After coming up short in the final in their previous two events, Andrea Hlavackova and Barbora Strycova won their second title of the year as they eked out a match tiebreak victory against Gabriela Dabrowski and Yifan Xu. A going-the-distance match can take a lot out of you:
The final was a monumental one for Hlavackova as it was the 50th of her career in women’s doubles.
The men are currently competing in their eighth ATP Masters 1000 event of the year in Shanghai. The quarterfinals are nearly set, with five of the seeded teams having advanced that far. One team that won’t be there is the top-seeded duo of Mike Bryan and Jack Sock. The two-time Slam champions dropped their opening match against Julio Peralta and Horacio Zeballos. The last quarterfinal spot will be filled by the winner of the Raven Klaasen/Michael Venus-versus-Ben McLachlan/Jan-Lennard Struff contest, a rematch of the Japan Open final.
The women have three events happening this week. In Tianjin, top seeds Irina-Camelia Begu and Barbora Krejcikova were knocked out in the second round by Xinyun Han and Darija Jurak. It seems like it’s just been a bad week if you’re a team at the top of the draw because in Tokyo, Hao-Ching Chan and Zhaoxuan Yang are also out of the tournament. In Linz, Raquel Atawo and Anna-Lena Groenefeld will try to avoid that fate when they face Anna Blinkova and Natalia Vikhlyantseva in their first match.
Follow Van on Twitter: @Van_Sias