With pros on the ATP and WTA tours essentially jumping into Grand Slam play with only a couple of weeks of competition, at best, it was going to be anyone’s ball game as far as finding a spot in the finals, with both doubles draws reflecting that.
Here’s a preview of the upcoming men’s and women’s championship matches, which will determine the first major victors of the summer. (Seeds in parentheses)
Laura Siegemund/Vera Zvonareva vs. Nicole Melichar/Yifan Xu (3)
The draw was rocked early on when top seeds Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic were forced to withdraw from the tournament due to COVID-19 parameters. Battling through the top half, Melichar and Xu—the third seeds, in their first season playing together—reached the final, which included a third-set tiebreak win against Americans Asia Muhammad and Taylor Townsend in the semifinals.
Siegemund and Zvonareva, playing with a protected ranking, did some damage of their own, knocking out the defending champions and second seeds Aryna Sabalenka and Elise Mertens in the quarterfinals.
Zvonareva, the first of two moms that will be playing in a final at the tournament (with the winner of the Serena Williams-Victoria Azarenka semifinal being the second), won the women’s doubles title back in 2006 and will be the only player on court with a major title in that category. However, Melichar and Xu have gelled quickly, winning in Adelaide to start the year and reaching the final of the Western & Southern Open, right before the main event. A first Grand Slam title for them is within reach.
Mate Pavic/Bruno Soares vs. Nikola Mektic/Wesley Koolhof (8)
After winning two Grand Slam titles with Jamie Murray back in 2016, Soares was sitting on top of the tennis world with his partner at the end of the year. A couple of seasons later, it was Pavic’s turn to experience that after a strong campaign with Oliver Marach, one that saw them win their first major title at the Australian Open.
After a while, though, even after so much success, a change is needed. Soares and Pavic teamed up late last year and won their first title together at the Shanghai Masters event. They got off to a slow start in 2020, and their return to action this summer was equally rocky with a first-round loss at the W&S Open.
Pavic and Soares bounced back to knock off the fifth-seeded team of Horacio Zeballos and Marcel Granollers, last year’s US Open finalists, in New York, and they’ve kept winning.
Their opponents, Koolhof and Mektic, have been playing solid throughout the tournament—including a straight-sets win against this year’s Australian Open champions, Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury, in the semifinals. The duo, though, is playing in its first Grand Slam final and the experience of Soares and Pavic might be the difference-maker. If anything, Croatia will have a reason to celebrate: Pavic and Mektic are the first players from the country to face off in a Slam final in New York.