The French Open is around the corner, but first, a look back and ahead at the last two major warm-ups in this week’s Doubles Take.
A COMEBACK HITS A HIGH NOTE
No feeling like raising this trophy above my head today, after such tough challenges! Thank you, @julrojer, for this great victory! It was great playing in front of our legends, Mr Țiriac and Mr Năstase. Thank you all for the support! Gracias Madrid! @mutuamadridopen #madridopen
As the 2018 clay-court s season hit its stride, half of one of the best teams in the men’s game was forced to the sidelines.
Horia Tecau, a two-time major title winner with Jean-Julien Rojer, was unable to play the French Open and Wimbledon due to injury. Rojer soldiered on while Tecau rehabbed, with the duo reuniting during the summer hard court season. Rojer and Tecau defended their title in Winston-Salem but couldn’t pull off a similar feat at the year’s last major, the US Open.
In 2019, their only appearance in a final prior to spring came indoors in Rotterdam. Always dangerous on any surface, they demonstrated their prowess on the dirt to the utmost at the Madrid Open.
The pair beat singles standouts Dominic Thiem and Diego Schwartzman for their second victory at the event.
ANOTHER BIG EVENT, ANOTHER BIG WIN
Last year in Indian Wells, Calif., Barbora Strycova and Su-Wei Hsieh teamed up at the last minute and promptly proceeded to win the tournament in their first time playing together. Proving that win was no fluke, they came out on top in Dubai earlier this year, and now, have a third championship on their ledger.
The No-seeded duo, who hadn’t played together since a second-round loss at the Miami Open, showed a knack for being rust-proof as they defeated Gabriela Dabrowski and Yifan Xu in straight sets in the final. It’s Strycova’s 25th career title and Hsieh’s 22nd.
Masters/Premier 5 tennis is a whole different ball game: Just ask Tecau and Rojer.
A couple of days after winning in Madrid, they were sent packing in the first round of this week’s tournament in Rome.by none other than Bob and Mike Bryan. That’s right, a Grand Slam-final-worthy match to open up play is more likely to happen at the Masters level than any other event. The first round at the tournament is done and while the top seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo have moved on, the second seeds weren’t so lucky. Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares fell to Jeremy Chardy—surprisingly one of the best on the men’s tour this season—and David Goffin.
On the women’s side, the top four seeds, led by Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, all received a bye into the second round. Madrid winners Hsieh and Strycova, the number-five seeds, were able to avoid going out like their male counterparts Rojer and Tecau, and took their opener. They’re in the same section of the draw with “Sunshine Double” winners Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka.
Maybe Strycova and Hsieh can pull off some kind of double run of their own.
Follow Van on Twitter: @Van_Sias