Doubles Take looks at the teams in play on the ATP and WTA tours.
THE DREAM SEASON CONTINUES
At the Australian Open this year, was the Cinderella story of the tournament as he battled through the singles qualifying rounds to reach the main draw and advanced to the semifinals from there.
Showing that he’s ready to build upon that, the Russian teamed up with his countryman Andrey Rublev to play doubles in Doha, Qatar. In the second round, the unseeded duo defeated veterans Marcelo Melo and Jean-Julien Rojer, then followed that up with a win against former French Open finalists Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin to reach the final. In the championship match, they faced another unseeded pair, Marcus Daniell and Philipp Oswald, and continued their winning ways.
Over the course of the week, the duo didn’t drop a set. It’s the first title of any type on the tour for Karatsev, while Rublev won his second career doubles crown.
TWO OUT OF THREE AIN’T BAD
A couple of weeks ago, Alexa Guarachi and Desirae Krawczyk won the WTA 500-level tournament in Adelaide, continuing their solid run over the past few months. After that, Guarachi went to the Middle East to team up with Darija Jurak. The Chilean-Croatian pair dropped their first match in Doha, but bounced back in a major way at the WTA 1000 tournament in Dubai.
Seeded eighth, Guarachi and Jurak stopped Yifan Xu and Zhaoxuan Yang, 6-0, 6-3, in the final. Aside from being pushed to a match tiebreak in the third round against Demi Schuurs and Nicole Melichar, Guarachi and Jurak won all of their other matches in straight sets.
A LONG TIME COMING
Back in 2015, Simone Bolelli of Italy cracked the Top 10 in the doubles rankings behind a first Grand Slam win at the Australian Open with his countryman Fabio Fognini. The next year, he teamed up with another compatriot, Andreas Seppi, to claim the title in Dubai. That victory happened to be the last time Bolelli won a tour-level event, with the drought finally coming to an end over the weekend in Santiago, Chile.
Teaming up with Maximo Gonzalez, one of the most prolific winners during the “Golden Swing,” the Italian-Argentinean pair captured their first title together, defeating Facundo Bagnis and Jaume Munar in the final. Seeded fourth, Bolelli and Gonzalez didn’t drop a set all week.
THE GRIND PAID OFF
Since teaming up at the end of November 2020, Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara have been one of the most successful teams on the ATP Challenger circuit, reaching four finals and winning one of them.
As it turns out, they’re not so bad at the ATP level, either.
In a major surprise, the pair claimed the title at the indoor event in Marseille, France, defeating Sander Arends and David Pel in the final in a battle of unseeded teams.
Carrying the confidence with them gained on the Challenger tour, Glasspool and Heliovaara impressed all week, only dropping one set on their way to victory.
Though they hadn’t played together through the first few tournaments of the year, 2021 had gotten off to a rough start for Ellen Perez and Astra Sharma on the doubles court. Teaming up in Guadalajara, Mexico, the Australians needed to survive a match tiebreak in the opening round. After that, though, they appeared to find their groove and advanced to the final against Desirae Kraczyk and Giuliana Olmos, the top seeds. Over the past few years, Krawczyk and Olmos had reached four finals together, plus Krawczyk was entering the tournament in fine form, having recently won a title in Adelaide.
In this match, though, it was the Aussies who prevailed over their more experienced foes.
It’s the second title of Sharma and Perez’s respective careers and goes a long way toward putting the memories of any early-season struggles behind them.
Both tours have two events on the schedule this week. It's the men's turn in Dubai, where the field is headlined by Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah. Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic, Wesley Koolhof and Lukasz Kubot, and Australian Open winners Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek—the respective second, third and fourth seeds— are all through to the quarterfinals after opening-round wins. The other ATP tournament is in Acapulco, Mexico, with the draw at the 500-level event led by former US Open finalists Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos. The second seeds are Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, who happen to be quite familiar with the venue: The duo, which reunited this year, won the tournament two years running in 2017 and ’18.
The women are also playing in Mexico at the Monterrey Open, where Kraczyk is competing with the home favorite Giuliana Olmos. Coming off a runner-up finish in Guadalajara last week, the pair reached their first career final together at the tournament back in 2018. The other event on the calendar is the 500-level St. Petersburg Ladies’ Trophy in Russia, with Nadiia Kichenok and Raluca Olaru headlining the draw, followed by Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria.