It’s a busy time for the ATP Tour—even as the 2019 season nears its end. Here’s Doubles Take with a look at the action.
THE FRENCH CONNECTION
If not for a little thing, like winning the Australian Open, Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut would have struggled to qualify for this year’s edition of the ATP Finals. The career-Grand-Slam-winning duo put their partnership on hold for a good chunk of the spring/early summer as Herbert decided to make a push in singles. Mahut partnered countryman Edouard Roger-Vasselin and proceeded to reach the final at Wimbledon. That duo also advanced to two finals during the fall, winning the title in Tokyo.
Still, Herbert and Mahut were guaranteed a spot in London, thanks to that Melbourne victory, and they entered London on a tear, winning the last Masters 1000 event of the year in Paris without dropping a set.
Coming in with momentum on their side, the Frenchmen showed why they’ve been one of the best teams on tour the past several seasons.
Going a perfect 3-0 in round-robin play, Herbert and Mahut won their semifinal in straight sets, then topped Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus 6-3, 6-4, in the final. It’s the first season-ending title for the team and comes a year after they lost the championship match to Mike Bryan and Jack Sock.
One might think after winning 10 matches in a row and two rather significant titles to close out the 2019 regular season that Mahut and Herbert would be in vacation-mode. Instead, the duo hopped over to Madrid for the revamped Davis Cup currently taking place.
The format has undergone some major changes to become more of an abbreviated affair. It’s not lacking for star power among the 18 nations competing this week, though, especially in doubles. Aside from Herbert and Mahut, the top-ranked “Colombian Power,” aka Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, is there.
Germans Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies, this year’s French Open champions, are also in Madrid; as are Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski for Great Britain; Belgium’s breakout team of Joran Vliegen and Sander Gille; and Ivan Dodig, Mate Pavic and Nikola Mektic, Croatia’s three-headed monster. The most accomplished doubles player on the U.S. squad, Jack Sock, and whomever he teams up with can present a tough challenge for anyone.
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