A triumphant return, streaking players and more: It’s all in this week’s Doubles Take.
IT’S OFFICIAL: THEY’RE BACK
Last season was one to remember for Bob and Mike Bryan—for entirely different reasons. After a strong start to the year that included two ATP Masters titles, Bob Bryan was forced to the sideline with a hip injury that eventually required replacement surgery. Meanwhile, Mike Bryan would go on to win two Grand Slams and the ATP Finals with Jack Sock.
After extensive rehab, Bob Bryan made his way back to the court this year, reuniting with his brother. In Australia, the duo posted a couple of solid results, but in their return to home soil, they lost in the first round at the New York Open.
The Bryans, arguably the greatest doubles team of all time, know how to navigate a season as well as anyone. In Delray Beach, the brothers put the immediate past behind them and showed that the future will continue to be bright as long as they’re ready and able to take the court.
In a battle of brothers, the Bryans defeated Great Britain’s Ken and Neal Skupski in the final for their first title of the season and first with "Ironman" Bob back on the team. Bob, as expected, was particularly appreciative of the victory.
6 months ago when I was learning how to walk again, I prayed I would one day feel healthy enough to play professional tennis again. Thanks to these four who never left my side and kept me smiling when at times I wanted to cry. Today was a dream. #atpworldtour #family #ironman #117 #delraybeach
The Bryans will try to keep things rolling in Acapulco this week, where they’re the second seeds.
ANOTHER SUCCESS STORY
Last year in Indian Wells, Su-Wei Hsieh and Barbora Strycova teamed up for the first time, right at the last minute, and had a successful debut by winning the title.
A little more planning went into their partnership for Dubai this year, but the results were the same.
The Taiwanese-Czech pair won their second title together, defeating veteran doubles standouts Lucie Hradecka and Ekaterina Makarova in straight sets in the final.
The “Golden Swing” of winter clay-court tournaments has been Maximo Gonzalez’s time to shine this year. After going 1-1 in championship matches during the stretch with countryman Horacio Zeballos, the Argentine won his second title of the year with Chile’s Nicolas Jarry at the Rio Open in Brazil.
The duo denied home favorites Thomasz Bellucci and Rogerio Dutra Silva in a match tiebreak to clinch their first title together.
CHARDY: DOUBLES SPECIALIST?
Gonzalez isn’t the only player on a tear on the doubles court. Jeremy Chardy, best known for his singles game, just claimed his second title in a row with as many partners. After winning Rotterdam last week with Henri Kontinen, the Frenchman teamed up with his countryman Fabrice Martin to triumph in front of a home crowd in Marseille.
By beating Ben McLachlan and Matwe Middelkoop, Chardy and Martin won their second title together and first in two years.
BEST IN BUDAPEST
Among the wave of mothers who’ve had a successful return to the WTA Tour the past few seasons, Vera Zvonareva has been there with them. Having made a return to the top 100 in singles this year, the two-time major winner in doubles just won her second title in seven months, coming out on top at the Hungarian Ladies Open with Ekaterina Alexandrova.
In the final, they denied Hungary’s Fanny Stollar and Heather Watson of Great Britain. For Alexandrova, it’s the first title of her career on the main tour.
A LOOK AHEAD
Both tours will be converging upon Acapulco this week: On the men’s side, two-time champs Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares are the top seeds, followed by Bob and Mike Bryan. The top seeds in the women’s draw are Irina Bara and Mihaela Buzarnescu, followed by Dalila Jakupovic and Irina Khromacheva.
Also, it’s the men’s turn to play in Dubai this week. Top seeds Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic will try to put the first few weeks of the season behind them and resume their winning ways. For the second week in a row, Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus, the second seeds, have been dealt a first-round knockout. And as the Golden Swing wraps up in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Pablo Cuevas and Horacio Zeballos headline the tournament, followed by Leonardo Mayer and Joao Sousa. Among the unseeded threats are Maximo Gonzalez and Federico Delbonis.
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