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Doubles Take: Hsieh, Mertens and more star at Wimbledon
The third Grand Slam of the season is in the books.
Published Jul 13, 2021
The third Grand Slam of the season is in the books. Doubles Take looks back at the Wimbledon winners and previews this week’s action.
Back in 2018, Su-Wei Hsieh and Barbora Strycova teamed up at Indian Wells for the first time ever—and went on to win the tournament. A year later, they were Wimbledon champions and would go on to top the women’s rankings.
With Strycova deciding to retire this year, Hsieh entered into a new partnership with two-time major winner Elise Mertens. Despite their accomplishments and lofty spots in the rankings, the pair entered Wimbledon with a 4-4 record together.
Coming off their first semifinal in Birmingham, Hsieh and Mertens caught fire at the All England Club, only dropping two sets on their way to the final. On paper, the No. 3 seeds were heavy favorites against Veronika Kudermetova and Elena Vesnina. Underdogs they might have been, the Russians didn’t play like it as they won the first set and held two match points in the second at 5-4. Hsieh and Mertens stormed back from the brink to send the match into a decider, where things got interesting.
Mertens served for the title at 5-3 but got broken. A few games later, at 7-6, the Russian team had a crack at the crown on serve, but was broken, too. Finally, up 8-7, Hsieh and Mertens closed out their opponents to win their first major together.
While Hsieh and Mertens didn’t burst out the gate right away, coming in on top after only five tournaments together shows the decision to pair up was the correct one.
GRAND SLAM GLORY, AT LAST
With multiple Masters titles and tournaments won at the 250/500 levels in 2021, Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic deserved their spot at the top of the draw at Wimbledon—even though they had been shut out of the Grand Slam winners’ circle.
That is, until now.
The Croatians added to their all-time campaign by winning the men’s doubles title at Wimbledon, where they beat the fourth seeds, Horacio Zeballos and Marcel Granollers, in four sets in the final. It’s their eighth victory of the season, and if this past fortnight was any indication, more major glory could be coming their way.
The formula for Grand Slam success? Team up with an Englishman and watch the trophies roll in.
At least that’s how Desirae Krawczyk probably sees it.
The American just won her second major title in a row: After taking the French with Joe Salisbury last month, she partnered with his countryman, Neal Skupski, at Wimbledon and promptly went on to win the title, defeating Harriet Dart and Salisbury in the final.
At the approaching US Open, Krawczyk will be sticking to her prize-winning plans by reuniting with Salisbury. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the trophy engraver in New York might want to get a jump on their job and start putting those two names on the winners’ trophies.
Both tours have a fairly heavy schedule with three events apiece. The men aren’t done with the grass yet, with the Hall of Fame Open taking place in Newport, R.I. The top seeds are Marcus Daniell and Ben McLachlan, both of whom have been playing solid tennis this year with their regular respective partners, Philipp Oswald and Raven Klaasen. Jonathan Erlich and Santiago Gonzalez, the second seeds, are both familiar with the tournament, having won the title with different partners in the past. In fact, Erlich won his first career title in Newport—back in 2000.
There’s also two clay-court events this week on the ATP calendar. At the 500-level event in Hamburg, Germany, two home favorites are part of the top-seeded teams: Kevin Krawietz is partnering Horia Tecau to lead the draw, while Tim Puetz is teaming up with defending champ Michael Venus. In Bastad, Sweden, Andres Molteni and Andrea Vavassori—fresh off a semifinal run at a Challenger in Austria—are the top seeds.
The women have two events taking place on the dirt this week, as well. In Lausanne, Switzerland, Anna Blinkova and Anna-Lena Friedsam—coming off a second-round showing at Wimbledon—are the top seeds, followed by Jil Teichmann and Tamara Zidansek. The stop in Budapest, Hungary sees Anna Kalinskaya and Yana Sizikova atop the draw. Perhaps the heavy favorites, though, are the homegrown team of Reka Luca Jani and four-time Grand Slam champion Timea Babos, the second seeds who are already through to the quarterfinals.
With the US Open fast approaching, the WTA summer hard-court stretch is kicking off in Prague. Viktoria Kuzmova and Nina Stojanovic are the top seeds, followed by Asia Muhammad and Storm Sanders, with the Aussie in fine form: Sanders just advanced to the semifinals at Wimbledon with Caroline Dolehide.