Doubles Take looks at what the best teams in the business are up to on the court.
A NEW YORK STATE OF MIND
Who could have predicted what Grand Slam play would look like in “the bubble”? Would players be up for the pressure of contesting a major so close to tennis’ restart? Could an unseeded team shake up the world to capture one of the game’s biggest prizes?
For those last two questions, the answers are yes and yes.
Laura Siegemund and Vera Zvonareva, two veterans of the WTA Tour playing together for the first time, claimed the women’s title, defeating Nicole Melichar and Yifan Xu, the third seeds, in straight sets in the final.
Wow... what an honor to call ourselves GRAND SLAM champions...! We put all we had into each point, each match this week and were rewarded with the victory in the end What a feeling of joy & pride for us, our performances, our teams and families supporting us - not only yesterday, but on the long journey until this day. The road to a success like this is never easy - even if it looks like that from the outside... And I’m thankful for the people who continuously walk by my side through the tough times, the lows to arrive at such highs together with me. Above all my boyfriend and coach @antony_pumpkin who has my back no matter what and was the loudest (and for the most part the only one) in our box But most of our supporters had to stay in the background in their home unfortunately, still they’re a huge part of this achievement and I wanna thank them here! Big thanks also to the @usta and @usopen for making this event happening during these hard times and for giving us players the opportunity to be back on court competing against each other on the highest level. Thanks to my partner @vera.zvonareva for teaming up with me! Her journey is inspiring and I’m happy to be by her side to share a great comeback #teamzvonarevasiegemund #grandslamchampions #usopenchamps #usopen2020 #happy #winners #teamsiegemund #sweet #victory #bettertogether
Among the men, Bruno Soares and Mate Pavic—a couple of former Grand Slam champs and world No. 1s who just teamed up last year—lived up to their billing as one of the most dangerous floaters in the draw. The duo defeated Nikola Mektic and Wesley Koolhof for their first major title together.
It was a tournament that saw both of the top-seeded teams in each draw—defending men’s champs Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, and Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic—unable to make it past the second round, further opening things up for the other pairings.
CONQUERING THE CLAY
After falling to Siegemund and Zvonareva in the first round of the US Open, Desirae Krawczyk and Alexa Guarachi headed for the clay-court tournament in Istanbul, Turkey. Seeded first, the former college standouts barely made it out of the first round, but settled into a groove after that.
Krawczyk and Guarachi defeated Ellen Perez and Storm Sanders in the final to win their second career title together after Gstaad two years ago.
After a solid run at the Western & Southern Open with fellow American Steve Johnson, Austin Krajicek’s time in the New York bubble came to an end when he and Franko Skugor lost in the opening round of the US Open. The duo, who started playing together this year, were seeded fourth in Kitzbuhel, Austria, and were tested from the first ball on, surviving match tiebreaks in their first three contests to reach the final.
There, they faced Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos, the top seeds, and managed to come through in two hard-fought sets.
Phenomenal week to start the clay court season in one of the most beautiful cities in the world! #kitzbühel Fantastic tournament and hospitality, big thanks to @generaliopen ! Next stop is Rome back to work Wednesday @gundrymd @lottotennis @babolat @tourna_tennis @atptour Photo by: Mia Knoll/GENERALI Open
It’s the first title together for the American-Croatian pair, and also marks another milestone for Krajicek: It’s his first ATP title on clay.
The tours are sharing the same venue once again this week in Rome, the ATP Masters 1000/WTA Premier 5 clay-court tournament. Two-time defending champs Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah are the top seeds on the men’s side and have advanced to the second round. The exceptionally deep draw has already seen a couple of upsets: Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury, this year’s Australian Open winners, lost their opener to the wild-card pairing of Lorenzo Sonego and Andrea Vavassori. 2018 French Open champs Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies, the sixth seeds, fell in a match tiebreak to Henri Kontinen and Jan-Lennard Struff, one of the dangerous floaters at the tournament.
On the women’s side, the top four seeds—led by Su-Wei Hsieh and Barbora Strycova—all received a first-round bye. In their opener, Hsieh and Strycova will face former French Open women’s doubles finalist Makoto Ninomiya and her partner, Nao Hibino. Three of the four women that contested the US Open final are slated to play in Rome—albeit with different partners. Laura Siegmund and Vera Zvonareva, the winners in New York, are teaming up with Oksana Kalashnikova and Sharon Fichman, respectively, while Nicole Melichar is playing with Demi Schuurs. That combo is seeded fourth in Rome.