Doubles Take is here with the lowdown on team action as the ATP and WTA seasons start to wind down.
THAT’S HOW YOU BOOKEND A SEASON
The reunion of Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic on the doubles court got off to a perfect start in 2018 as they won the first Grand Slam of the season, the Australian Open.
While the months in between then and the WTA Finals weren’t particularly fruitful, they managed to finish the season just like they started: with another major title. The Hungarian/French duo beat top seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova for the year-end championship.
In the semifinals, Babos and Mladenovic got revenge over their US Open final conquerors CoCo Vandeweghe and Ashleigh Barty, in a deciding tiebreak no less.
For Babos, it’s her second consecutive title at the tournament, having won it last year with Andrea Hlavackova.
In Basel, Switzerland, the dream season continued for Dominic Inglot and Franko Skugor as they captured their third title of 2018 together with a win over brothers Mischa and Alexander Zverev in the final.
The indoor hard courts also the third different surface they’ve won on, after taking titles on clay and grass during the summer.
AWESOME IN AUSTRIA
Brits Joe Salisbury and Neal Skupski won their first title together in Vienna, Austria, by defeating Mike Bryan and Edouard Roger-Vasselin in the final.
It’s the second career title for each of them as they entered the winners’ circle for the first time this year.
NEWS & NOTES
Two-time men's doubles Grand Slam champion Jurgen Melzer said goodbye to his singles career last week in Vienna. Melzer, who reached the top 10 in singles, will now focus on doubles. ...And if you're ever wondering how difficult it can be on the Challenger tour as far as fan adulation goes, this point from Noah Rubin and Darian King captures the essence of that.
The good news is that the duo took the match to run its winning streak to six after taking the title in Stockton, Calif., the week before. However, they were stopped in the semis by Robert Galloway and Nathan Pasha.
The men wrap up the regular season in Paris at the last Masters event of the year. The top eight seeds all have first-round byes, including Oliver Marach/Mate Pavic and Mike Bryan/Jack Sock, who are in the top two spots in the draw. With the field already set for the ATP Finals, building momentum will be one of the top priorities in Paris for the qualifiers. Others who didn’t make the cut this year after regular appearances—such as Horia Tecau/Jean-Julien Rojer and two-time London champs Henri Kontinen/John Peers—will look to end 2018 on a high note.
At the WTA Elite Trophy, the last main event of the year, Mihaela Buzarnescu and Alijca Rosolska are the top seeds in the six-team draw, followed by Pan Pacific Open champions Miyu Kato and Makoto Ninomaya. For Ninomaya, it’s been quite the year: The Japanese player reached the French Open final with countrywoman Eri Hozumi.
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