Through three majors this year, unpredictably has reigned in both the men’s and women’s draws as three different teams have won on each side. One thing is for sure in New York, though: There won’t be a repeat championship duo from last year as all four players who came in first are playing with someone else in 2019. Here’s your Doubles Take preview.
Back in 2017, Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau won the Winston-Salem Open, the last event before New York, and carried that momentum with them over the next two weeks, as they claimed their second career Slam together. Last year, they repeated in North Carolina, but were unable to replicate their title-winning feat at the Open.
Which path will Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo, the second seeds in New York, follow?
They’re arguably the hottest team on tour right now, having won in Winston-Salem, and appear to be well-positioned for a run at repeating their 2018 finalist performance in New York.
The Polish-Brazilian duo are drawn to face Henri Kontinen and John Peers, the 14thseeds, in the third round; then Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares—the sixth seeds who recently teamed up but have yet to find their footing—in the quarters; and Michael Venus and Raven Klaasen, seeded third, in the semis.
As tough a task as it may seem for those teams, though, to have a shot at the title, the duos in the top half of the draw could have it even harder. Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, the top seeds and this year’s Wimbledon champions, could face Canada Masters finalists Robin Haase and Wesley Koolhof—who topped them during that Montreal run—in the third round. Rojer and Tecau, the fifth seeds, are in one of the most intriguing first-rounders as they take on French Open finalists Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin.
Another opener that has “big-time battle” written all over it is the match between No. 11 seeds Ivan Dodig/Filip Polasek—arguably the team of the summer—and last year’s winner Jack Sock, who’s partnered with Jackson Withrow this go-around.
The winner of that match could face Bob Bryan and Sock’s teammate last year, Mike Bryan, in the round of 16. The Bryans have had a solid campaign in what has been Bob’s comeback season, but haven’t broken through at the major level yet—something they’ll be motivated to rectify in New York.
Similar to the Sock-Mike Bryan situation, the defending champions on the women’s side aren’t playing together this year, either. CoCo Vandeweghe, working her way back from injury, is partnering with Bethanie Mattek-Sands, while Ashleigh Barty is seeded eighth this year with Victoria Azarenka.
The team that Vandeweghe and Barty defeated last year, though, is back—and will be coming in on one of the best Grand Slam seasons in recent memory.
Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic are seeded first and are the heavy favorites to take the title. They started the year off with a runner-up finish at the Australian Open, falling to Samantha Stosur and Zhang Shuai; then won the French Open for their second major title together in two years.
At their most recent Grand Slam, Wimbledon, the duo advanced to the semifinals. Their path to the quarterfinals appears rather straightforward, but in the last eight, they could face Barty/Azarenka, 2018 Wimbledon finalists Nicole Melichar/Kveta Peschke or the unseeded duo of Katerina Siniakova and Julia Goerges. Siniakova is a two-time major winner with Barbora Krejcikova, but her countrywoman is unable to play.
On the bottom half of the draw, Barbora Strycova and Su-Wei Hsieh are going for their second major in a row: The second seeds have had a strong 2019 with titles on every surface, including the grass at Wimbledon. Obstacles abound at nearly every turn for the teams on this side, with “Sunshine Double” winners Elise Mertens/Aryna Sabalenka, Anna-Lena Groenefeld/Demi Schuurs and recent Cincinnati champs Lucie Hradecka/Andreja Klepac among the contenders.
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