CHAMPIONSHIP POINT: Stosur and Zhang finish in style


The US Open is only several days away and players are looking to enter the year’s last major in top form. Doubles Take is here with a look at who’s peaking now.


Before the Cincinnati tournament, the last time Samantha Stosur contested a doubles final was in March 2019, when she and Zhang Shuai reached the championship match in Miami. That was only two months after that pair won the Australian Open for their second title together.

The Melbourne triumph actually happened to mark the most recent doubles tournament either of them had won. Reuniting in Cincinnati, the veterans played just like it was old times. In a draw that included a three-time major-winning team, the reigning Wimbledon champs and two teams vying for a third final in as many weeks, it was Stosur and Zhang that came through. In the final, the pair topped Gabriela Dabrowski and Luisa Stefani, who were playing their third championship in three weeks. It was Zhang’s ninth career doubles title, while Stosur won her 27th. More importantly, it was the Australian’s first title as a mother.

Before capping off their Western & Southern Open week with a 7-5, 6-3 final-round victory, Stosur and Zhang prevailed in four successive match tie-breaks.

Before capping off their Western & Southern Open week with a 7-5, 6-3 final-round victory, Stosur and Zhang prevailed in four successive match tie-breaks.


Over the past few years, there’s been several partnerships that have hit it off right from the start: Just look at what Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic have done in 2021, for example, in their first year playing together. Another duo that experienced instant success was Horacio Zeballos and Marcel Granollers, who triumphed on their team debut at the National Bank Open (Montreal) back in 2019. The two rode that wave of momentum into the US Open a few weeks later, reaching the final.

Since then, they’ve established themselves among the best teams on the ATP Tour and are coming off a second career major final at Wimbledon.

Could another Grand Slam championship match be on the horizon in New York? If their showing in Cincinnati was any indication, Zeballos and Granollers could make a serious run in the Big Apple. The Argentine-Spanish pair won their second title of the year—at the Masters 1000 level, to boot—by beating the unseeded Americans Austin Krajicek and Steve Johnson in the Cincinnati final. The second seeds captured every match in straight sets to set themselves up as serious contenders at the US Open.



It's the last week of tournaments before the year's final major and teams on both tours are looking to get in some fine-tuning before the US Open. The women have two new 250-level events on the calendar, hitting up major cities in the American midwest. At the tour stop in Chicago, Nicole Melichar and Demi Schuurs will try to end a months-long title drought as they headline the draw, followed by the Chan sisters, Latisha and Hao-Ching. The other new tournament, in Cleveland, sees Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibihara setting the pace as the top seeds. They’re already through to the quarterfinals, but won’t be joined by the second seeds Alexa Guarachi and Desirae Krawczyk, who lost their opening match.

For the men, there’s one final tune-up, the Winston-Salem Open in North Carolina. Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo, who won the title the last time the event was held, in 2019, are the top seeds, followed by Nicolas Mahut and Fabrice Martin. Both of those teams are already through to the quarterfinals.