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Doubles Take: Qatar, Acapulco and more
Gauff won her first doubles title without regular partner McNally. Meanwhile, Tsitsipas made a rare doubles sighting.
Published Mar 01, 2022
THE QUEENS OF QATAR
It’s been quite the past two years for Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula—and over the weekend in Qatar, the Americans added another highlight to their respective careers.
Gauff and Pegula beat Veronika Kudermetova and Elise Mertens, the top seeds in the final, doing so in impressive fashion. Kudermetova and Mertens, who had just won in Dubai, took a massive lead in the match, as they claimed the first set, then maintained their form in the second. The young Americans rallied to win the frame, then claimed the title after a strong performance in the match tiebreak.
Gauff won her fourth career doubles title, and first without regular partner Caty McNally. And in another first, Pegula broke through with her maiden doubles triumph.
A TSITSIPAS SIGHTING IN DOUBLES TAKE
With his fluid all-court game, it seems as if singles standout Stefano Tsitsipas would have had more success in doubles over the past couple of seasons. However, going into the tournament in Apapulco, Greece’s top male player had yet to win a tournament in the discipline.
By weekend’s end, that had all changed.
Tsitsipas teamed up with the veteran Feliciano Lopez and the unseeded duo was only pushed to the distance once in its first three matches. In the final, the pair beat the hottest team on the planet, Jean-Juien Rojer and Marcelo Arevalo, in straight sets to cap off the win.
For Lopez, a former French Open doubles champion, it’s the sixth title of his career in the discipline, while Tsitsipas finally broke through for his first victory.
DELIGHT IN DUBAI
Entering the ATP 500-level in Dubai, all eyes were on top seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic, who hadn’t won a title since last summer at the Olympics.
The top-ranked Croatians managed to reach their first final of the year and appeared poised to snap their winless drought in the contest against Tim Puetz and Michael Venus. Three times, Mektic and Pavic had a chance to win, and each time they were denied by the German-New Zealander combo.
Up 15-14 in the match tiebreak, Puetz and Venus clinched the win on the next point, giving them their third title together after victories in Hamburg and at the Paris Masters last year.
THE SIXTH TIME’S THE CHARM
Having reached five finals in a four-year span, Kaitlyn Christian had been establishing herself as a solid doubles player on the WTA Tour.
Now, after the just-completed tournament in Guadalajara, Mexico, the American can be called a champion.
The third-seeded Christian and Lidziya Marozava of Belarus claimed the title, defeating alternates Wang Xin and Zhu Lin of China in the final. Wang and Zhu were seeking their second career title together, but Christian and Marozava—who had only been pushed to a match tiebreak once over the week—wouldn’t be denied. Marozava claimed her third career title, while Christian joined her in the winners’ circle.
CHAMPS IN CHILE, MORE TO COME?
Last year, Rafael Matos and Felipe Meligeni Alves contested eight finals together between the ATP and Challenger levels, with Matos tacking on another six for good measure with different partners.
In other words, the two young Brazilians know how to play doubles, especially on clay, and they showed just how well they can in Santiago, Chile.
Top seeds at the last tournament of the “Golden Swing,” Matos and Meligeni Alves won their first event of 2022 together, beating Andre Goransson of Sweden and Nathaniel Lammons of the US in straight sets in the final. Matos and Meligeni Alves had gotten off to a slow start this year, but this title could spur them on to bigger things ahead, particularly on the dirt.
For the second week in a row, the WTA is in Mexico, this time in Monterrey. Elixane Lechemia and Ingrid Neel are the top seeds, followed by Anastasia Potapova and Kamilla Rakhimova. Nao Hibano and Miyu Kato are seeded third, while Kaitlyn Christian and Lidziya Marozava, the fourth seeds, will try to go 2-for-Mexico after their Guadalajara win. The other WTA event this week takes place indoors in Lyon, France, where top seeds and former Roland Garros finalists Eri Hozumi and Makoto Ninomiya have already battled through to the quarters. Hao-Ching Chan and Julia Lohoff are the second seeds.
The men don’t have any regular tour events happening this week. Instead, they’ll be gearing up for Davis Cup clashes over the weekend. Top players such as France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut; Rajeev Ram of the US; and “Colombian Power,” aka Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, are expected to represent their countries in the international team event.