Much-needed confidence boosts have been the order of business of late. Doubles Take is here with a look at the latest action on the clay courts.


Through the first seven months of 2021, new partners Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic played at a record-setting pace, winning nine titles, among them Wimbledon and Olympic Gold. However, after that triumph in Tokyo, the Croatians went through a once-unthinkable drought, closing out the year without a title. The slump extended through the opening months of this year, leading to them being supplanted from atop the ATP rankings.

Heading into the Rome Masters, the defending champions had two finals on the year to their credit, but had suffered a slew of early-round upsets. Seeded third at the latest edition of one of the tour’s most prestigious events, Mektic and Pavic were almost an afterthought among the title contenders. Perhaps it’s just something about the Italian capital, though, as Mektic and Pavic were dominant through their first four matches, winning them all in straight sets.

In the final, they faced #Isnerman, aka John Isner and Diego Schwartzman, crowd favorites all week. Isner was bidding for his third Masters title of 2022, but in the end, it was the doubles standouts that prevailed in a 12-10 match tiebreak. Mektic and Pavic won their 10th career title together, but perhaps most importantly, their confidence got the proper boost with Roland Garros right around the corner.



Speaking of the French Open, last year’s women’s singles final was one of the most unlikely in recent memory with Doubles Take headliner Barbora Krejcikova breaking through and stopping veteran singles standout Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

A lot has happened for both since then, but unfortunately, injuries have played a big part in their respective trajectories. Pavlyuchenkova had been sidelined for much of 2022 due to a knee issue, only recently returning to action during the spring clay-court swing. Playing in Rome, she teamed up with her countrywoman Veronika Kudermetova, who’s been racing up the doubles rankings this year. The duo fought off a match point against fifth seeds Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff in the first round; beat top seeds Storm Sanders and Zhang Shuai in the quarters in straights; and barely escaped past Desirae Krawczyk and Demi Schuurs—the third seeds who’d been on a tear lately—in the semis to reach their first final together.

Facing them across the net in the championship match were Madrid champs Giuliana Olmos and Gabriela Dabrowski, bidding for their second Masters 1000 title in as many weeks. Olmos and Dabrowski breezed through the first set, but as they had been doing all week, the Russians showed they were up for the battle, eventually taking the title in a match tiebreak. Kudermetova claimed her second title of the year and fourth of her career, while Pavlyuchenkova won her sixth overall—and first in five years.

Unfortunately, Pavlyuchenkova won't be able to build upon this win as she just announced she's shutting down her 2022 campaign just as it was really getting started in an attempt to fully recover health-wise.


The players on both tours are looking to get their last licks in before the year’s second major, the French Open, kicks off in about a week’s time. At the ATP event in Geneva, Mektic and Pavic will look to keep their momentum going as they headline the draw. Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, the second seeds, are already out, falling to local wild cards Jakub Paul and Leandro Riedi. In Lyon, France, top seeds Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek are through to the quarters, along with third seeds Sander Gille and Joran Vliege—the Belgians looking to break out of a season-long slump. Maximo Gonzalez and Marcelo Melo are the second seeds.

Making its way back to the WTA calendar is the tournament in Rabat, Morocco, after a two-year absence. Former French Open finalists Eri Hozumi and Makoto Ninomiya are the top seeds there, followed by Monica Niculescu and Alexandra Panova. And at the long-running event in Strasbourg, France, veterans Lucie Hradecka and Sania Mirza sit atop the draw. With more than 60 doubles titles between them, neither one of them have won the title at the French Open warm-up event, though Hradecka has reached the singles final there twice. Shuko Aoyama and Chan Hao-Ching are seeded second.