The WTA hits Asia, while the men are back in action: It’s all in the latest Doubles Take.
It had been a while since Japan’s No. 3-ranked player Nao Hibino experienced the thrill of holding up the first-place hardware—in singles or doubles.
It looks like she was eager to make up for lost time at the Japan Women’s Open.
In front of her home fans, Hibino beat countrywoman Misaki Doi in the singles final, then teamed up with her to top Christina McHale and Valeria Savinykh in the doubles final. Hibino became only the second player from both the men’s and women’s tours to “double up” this season after Feliciano Lopez accomplished that feat over the summer at Queen’s Club.
THREE THE HARD WAY
Seeded ninth at the US Open and coming in with some momentum after winning a title in San Jose, Calif., the last Grand Slam of the season didn’t go as planned for Nicole Melichar and Kveta Peschke. The American-Czech duo was bounced out of the tournament by the teenage sensations Coco Gauff and Caty McNally in the second round.
Making their “Asian Swing” debut this year at the Zhengzhou Open, the top seeds were able to put that disappointment behind them and play up to their place in the draw.
TITLE TOWN!!! Winners in Zhengzhou! Great work this week partner, always a pleasure having you by my side . Let’s keep it rolling! Title #5 together and #6 for me ????. Thank you @zhengzhouopen for hosting such a wonderful event! I will be back! #yonex #mizuno #oakley #malavelka #zhengzhouopen #china @wta
Though a couple of their matches went to super tiebreaks, Melichar and Peschke battled through to win their third title of the season, defeating Yanina Wickmayer and Tamara Zidansek in the final. It’s the sixth career title for Melichar and the 34th for the 44-year-old Peschke.
YOUTH OVER EXPERIENCE
Imagine reaching your first career WTA final and on the other side of the net, you have a couple of Grand Slam champions looking back at you.
That’s the situation Lin Zhu and Xinyun Han found themselves in at the Jiangxi Open when they took on Shuai Peng and Shuai Zhang in an all-Chinese battle.
The unseeded duo, tested in every match on their way to the final, prevailed over the second seeds in straight sets.
Playing their first final together in five years, Peng and Zhang couldn’t hold off their younger countrywomen from the statement-making win.
The WTA calendar is full once again with three tournaments this week. At the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Osaka, Kveta Peschke and Nicole Melichar, the No. 3 seeds, will be going for their second title in as many weeks. The draw is headlined by Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Demi Schuurs, who’ve made multiple finals but have yet to win a title this year. The Chan sisters, Hao-Ching and Latisha, are seeded No. 2.
Australian Open champions Shuai Zhang and Samantha Stosur are the top seeds at the Guangzhou International Women’s Open in China. Over at the Korea Open in Seoul, Kirsten Flipkens and Jelena Ostapenko are already out: The No. 1 seeds fell to Hayley Carter and Luisa Stefani in their opener.
The men are back in action after a week off. The Moselle Open in France features home favorites and Wimbledon finalists Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin atop the draw. The second seeds, Luke Bambridge and Ben McLachlan, lost to McLachlan’s sometimes partner Jan-Lennard Struff and Robert Lindstedt in the first round. Familiarity can catch up to you, it seems.
At the other ATP stop in St. Petersburg, Russia, Nikola Mektic and Franko Skugor won their opener as they seek their second title of the year. Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen, who’ve been on fire post-Wimbledon, are already through to the quarters.
Also, the weekend will see Team World take on Team Europe at the third annual Laver Cup, which is always good for a dream pairing or two.
Follow Van on Twitter: @Van_Sias