We’re now two weeks into a stretch of post-Slam action, and Doubles Take is here for it with a look at the latest in team play.
First, some major news: Robert Farah—the No. 1 ranked men’s player in the world—has been ruled eligible to return to competition following an anti-doping rule violation, after his explanation on how the banned substance entered his system was accepted. Farah and his partner, Juan Sebastian Cabal, won two Grand Slams last year.
The men have three events on tap, two indoors and one on clay—the second leg of the “Golden Swing” through Latin America.
At the ATP 500-level event in Rotterdam, top seeds Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies fell in the first round. Last week, Krawietz partnered Nicolas Mahut in Montpellier, but this time, the Frenchman is back with his countryman Pierre-Hugues Herbert and the four-time major winners are already through to the quarterfinals.
The other indoor event on the calendar, the New York Open, has also lost its top seeds: Austin Krajicek and Franko Skugor dropped their opener to the always-tough Divij Sharan and Artem Sitak. Nicholas Monroe and Jack Sock—playing his first tournament of the year—topped the fourth-seeded Ben McLachlan and Luke Bambridge in the opening round. Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos avoided the fate of the top seeds this week by winning their first-round match at the Argentina Open on clay.
Not the result we wanted today???? but overall had an amazing experience here at my first @australianopen ???????????? Thank you to everyone for all of the kind words and support throughout this tournament????❤️ It really means the world to me???? . . ✨初全豪オープンすごく楽しかったです‼️ たくさんの応援ありがとうございました???????? . . #athlete #sports #professional #tennis #player #motivation #inspiration #yonex #life #wta #doubles #australianopen #2020 #ao2020 #選手 #プロ #テニス #柴原瑛菜 #スポーツ #ヨネックス #全豪オープン #ダブルス
On the WTA side, two events are taking place right now. Ena Shibahara and Shuko Aoyama are the top seeds at the St. Petersburg Open as they look to recapture that winning feeling in Russia. Last year, the Japanese duo claimed their first title together at the Kremlin Cup—one of two events they won in the fall. The Thailand Open’s top seeds, Nao Hibino and Miyu Kato, dropped their opener, but second seeds Shuai Peng and Yafan Wang are already through to the semifinals.
The first round of the new-look Fed Cup finished over the weekend. At the international team competition, 16 teams battled for eight spots in the Fed Cup finals, with three of those contests going down to the doubles to decide it. That tally includes a victory for the U.S. squad against Latvia.
Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Sofia Kenin partnered to top Jelena Ostapenko and Anastasia Sevastova in the final rubber to put the U.S. through to the finals in April.
Wait, is that…clay? Yep, the “Golden Swing” on the ATP Tour kicked off with the first stop at the Cordoba Open in Argentina. Proving that last fall was no fluke, when they reached two finals—winning one of them—Marcelo Demoliner and Matwe Middelkoop showed all week why they’re definitely a team to watch.
The No. 3 seeds denied the fans the chance to see a home team win when they beat Leonardo Mayer and Andres Molteni in the final. It’s the second year in a row an all-Argentine team lost the championship match, after Maximo Gonzalez and Horacio Zeballos fell last year.
A FRENCH CONNECTION
The draw was exceptionally deep at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier: In fact, only one seeded team made it to the semis. Mate Pavic and Nikola Cacic did their part by stopping the top seeds in the quarters, and just kept on winning.
The Serbian-Croatian duo knocked out the veterans Dominic Inglot and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi in the final. Pavic won his 16th career title, while Cacic claimed his second after taking the Chengdu Open last year with fellow Serb Dusan Lajovic.
FEELS LIKE THE FIRST TIME
Last year, after more than a decade on tour, former junior standout Christopher Rungkat reached the first final of his career at the Sofia Open with Cheng-Peng Hsieh.
Fast forward a year later, then change up the venue—this time, the Maharashta Open in Pune, India—and you’ll see Indonesia’s top player has managed to go a step further.
Rungkat and Andre Goransson came out on top against Jonathan Erlich and Andrei Vasilevski in the final. For Sweden’s Goransson, it’s also his first career title on the main tour.