The clay-court stretch is officially in high gear. Doubles Take looks at the action on the ATP and WTA tours.


It’s funny how things can work out sometimes: One minute, you’re signing up for a tournament together, having never played with each other, and before you know it, you’re winning the whole thing.

That’s the scenario Andreja Klepac and Magda Linette found themselves in at the Charleston Open. They barely pulled off a win in their opener, but then settled into a bit of a groove as they took their next two matches in straights to set up a final against Lucie Hradecka and Sania Mirza, two of the best doubles players of their generation. After splitting the first two sets, the title was decided in a match tiebreak, which Klepac and Linette won, 10-7.

Linette spent a lot of time on the court in Charleston: The Pole played four singles matches, with three of them going the distance, along with the four on the doubles side. This was her first doubles title, while Klepac celebrated her 11th.



Given that two of his three career finals prior to Houston came at the Grand Slam level, it was only a matter of time before Max Purcell broke through and won a title.

Seeded first at the only U.S.-based ATP-level event on the dirt with his fellow Aussie Matt Ebden, Purcell finally caught the first-timer vibe, as the duo dominated all week from start to finish. Winning their first three matches in straight sets, the Australian Open finalists extended that streak in the Houston final, beating twin brothers Ivan and Matej Sabanov, 6-3, 6-3, for the top prize.

One of the longest-running events on tour, this was the first edition of the US Men’s Clay Court Championships in three years due to the pandemic. Purcell and Ebden became the first all-Australian team to triumph since 1996, when Pat Cash and Patrick Rafter claimed the title.

Purcell and Ebden moved up to No. 3 in the Doubles Race to Turin.

Purcell and Ebden moved up to No. 3 in the Doubles Race to Turin.


The other long-running men’s tournament on the ATP tour that made its return to the schedule after a forced hiatus was the Grand Prix Hassan II in Marrakech, Morocco. The field was so loaded that three of the top four teams fell in the first round, leaving plenty of room for an unheralded team to break through, which two did with runs to the final. One of those pairs featured a player who looks to be a difference maker on the men’s tour when it comes to clay-court doubles.

Since last year, Rafael Matos has been one of the game’s most prolific winners, claiming multiple titles between the Challengers and main tour. Having already won in Chile with Felipe Meligeni Alves this year, Matos added another first-place prize to the ledger, this time with David Vega Hernandez, in Marakkesh. In their first final together, the duo beat Andrea Vavassori and Jan Zielinski for the title.

It’s the second career ATP title for Vega Hernandez and third overall for Matos, who could be in line for more in the months ahead, no matter who he’s playing with.



Back in April 2019, Astra Sharma had a week to remember at the Copa Colsanitas in Bogota, Colombia, as she reached her maiden singles final and won her first career doubles title.

Seeded seventh in singles at the clay-court tournament this year, the Australian was upset in the first round. Doubles, though, was a completely different story. Sharma and her partner, Aldila Sutjiadi of Indonesia, didn’t let the fact that they were unseeded stop them. They won their first two matches in straight sets—including a victory over the second seeds—then fought through a match tiebreak in the semis to reach the final. In the championship match, Shara and Sutjiadi topped Emina Bektas and Tara Moore in another match tiebreak to take the title.

Sutjiadi claimed her first title, while Sharma won her third on the doubles court. Of Sharma’s six career finals between singles and doubles, three of those have come in Bogota.



There are no tournaments on the WTA Tour calendar and only one on the men’s side, but it’s a big one: The Monte Carlo Masters—the third 1000-level event of the year and first on clay—has gotten under way. Perhaps what’s most noteworthy about the draw are the names at the top of it. Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram, the world’s top-two players, have broken through the stranglehold Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic had on the number-one spot when both duos are in the field. After a first-round bye, Mektic and Pavic will take on singles standout Stefanos Tsitsipas and his younger brother, Petros.

In a hard-to-quantify upset of the tournament, veterans Jamie Murray and Rohan Bopanna—playing for the first time together in their stellar careers—beat Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski, the seventh seeds who have been the breakout team of the year to this point. Among the notable wins so far are Taylor Fritz and Sebastian Korda, the only Americans in the draw, knocking off two-time French Open champs Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies, and sixth seeds Robert Farah and Juan Sebastian Cabal—aka “Colombian Power”—beating Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen.