Who’s building momentum for the big events on the dirt? Doubles Take looks at last week’s winners, while keeping an eye on the action in Madrid.
VIVE LE FRANCE
Before 2019, Jeremy Chardy—better known for his singles game—had gone two years without a doubles title.
It seems like the Frenchman has been eager to make up for lost time this year.
Chardy and countryman Fabrice Martin took the title in Estoril, their second of the season together. For Chardy, it’s his third of the year and brings his mark in championship matches to 7-7.
OFF TO A FAST START
Over the past couple of seasons, Maria Jose Martinez and Andreja Klepac had established themselves as one of the best teams on the WTA Tour. Sometimes, though, even when it seems things are going good, a change might be in order, which was the case with those two as they recently split up.
It appears that Martinez Sanchez is ready to keep up her winning ways.
The veteran Spaniard teamed up with her young countrywoman Sara Sarribes Tormo to win the title in Rabat, Morocco, over Georgina Garcia Perez and Oksana Kalashnikova. It’s Tormo’s second career doubles title and No. 20 for Martinez Sanchez.
YOUTH IS SERVED
A few months ago, 20-year-olds Viktoria Kuzmova and Anna Kalinskaya reached their first final together indoors at the St. Petersburg Open. Under completely different conditions at the Prague Open, the Russian-Slovakian duo went one step further.
Kuzmova and Kalinskaya knocked off the defending champions Kveta Peschke and Nicole Melichar in the final. It’s the first title for each of them.
A CHEMISTRY LESSON
Sometimes it can take a while for partners to learn each other’s nuances. Hopefully, it’ll all come together after a few tournaments or over the span of several months.
Or it can be instant, like what Frederik Nielsen and Tim Puetz just experienced.
Please meet the #BMWOpenbyFWU doubles champions 2019: @GoldenSetTim & @freddienielsen???? The German-Danish team beats @mdemoliner89 & @divijsharan 6:4, 6:2. Big Congrats guys!???? pic.twitter.com/FTQUOSBZmw— BMW Open by FWU (@BMWOpenbyFWU) May 5, 2019
On their team debut, the duo took the title in Munich over Marcelo Demoliner and Divij Sharan. It’s the first clay-court triumph for both Putz and Nielsen.
Both the men and women are in Madrid this week for one of the biggest clay-court events of the year. Nikola Mektic, who won the men’s title last year with Alexander Peya, is going for his third Masters win in 2019, teaming up with his Monte Carlo partner Franco Skugor. In what surely signifies the depth of a Masters event, Bob and Mike Bryan—the runners-up last year—dropped their first-round match to two-time major winners Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau.
Perhaps the most intriguing partnership this week has been the team of Juan Martin del Potro and Kei Nishikori. (“Del-shikori”? “Nishi-Potro”?) The top 10 singles players won their first-round match against Fabio Fognini and Robert Lindstedt.
For the women, an unseeded semifinalist is guaranteed with “Sunshine Double” winners Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka falling early. Hao-Ching and Latisha Chan were in that same section of the draw, but the seventh seeds were knocked out in their opener.
The teams that won three of the four Grand Slams last year, Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova and Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic, each received first-round byes and are looking to get started.
Follow Van on Twitter: @Van_Sias