Doubles Take looks at what the pros on the ATP and WTA tours are up to on the court, with the French Open a week away.
A FANTASTIC FOURTH
Prior to the Italian Open, the last time Su-Wei Hsieh and Barbora Strycova were on court together was back in February, when they won their third title in four events in Doha.
Given their level of play in Rome, it’s obvious last year’s Wimbledon champs haven’t missed a beat.
Facing the unseeded duo of Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru in the championship match, Strycova and Hsieh put on a doubles clinic, taking the final 6-2, 6-2.
It’s their fourth tournament triumph of the year and their 2020 record together is now 21-1, with their only loss coming in the Australian Open final. And here’s another eye-popping stat: Hsieh and Strycova have only lost six sets total across those 22 matches. They were a perfect 8-0 in sets played in Rome.
In a perfect, or at least pandemic-free, world, Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos might have already had a French Open crown by now, considering the way they started 2020 by winning two tournaments on the dirt before the shutdown.
Coming off a final-round showing in Kitzbuhel, Austria, last week in their first tournament on clay in several months, the Spanish-Argentinean duo is back in the winners’ circle, following their title-winning run in Rome.
Granollers and Zeballos topped Frenchmen Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin in a match tiebreak for the title, their third of the year. With their clay-court record for 2020 now an astonishing 16-1, it looks like they’re the clear favorites for Paris.
The final warmups before Roland Garros are taking place with many top teams in action. At the WTA stop in Strasbourg, France, Nicole Melichar and Demi Schuurs are the top seeds, and will be looking to bounce back from their opening loss in Rome. They have a tough opener ahead of them as they’ll face Ellen Perez and Storm Sanders, who just made the finals on clay in Istanbul a couple of weeks ago. Gabriela Dabrowski and Jelena Ostapenko, the No. 2 seeds, are already through to the quarterfinals.
The draw at the ATP 500-level event in Hamburg, Germany, resembles the recently completed US Open, where many of the first-round matchups would be a worthy final. Case in point: Top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah face two-time major winners Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau first up, a rematch of their second-round encounter in New York that was won by the unseeded pair. No. 2 seeds and 2020 Australian Open champs Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury will face this year’s US Open runners-up Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic in another battle right out the gate.