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Doubles Take: Bye Australia, back to the tour
A thrilling kickoff to the 2022 Grand Slam season is in the books. Doubles Take looks back at the Australian Open and previews the week ahead.
Published Feb 01, 2022
LOCAL KIDS MAKE GOOD
After all he’s been through over the course of his career in regards to illness and injury, one can’t help but be impressed with Thanasi Kokkinakis' start in 2022.
A semifinal in front of his home fans in Adelaide. A first career ATP Tour singles title a week later in front of the locals once again. And now, the big one: a Grand Slam win with none other than his compatriot and longtime friend Nick Kyrgios.
One of the hottest tickets in Melbourne was a Kokkinakis-Kyrgios doubles match, and the Aussie duo definitely delivered. In the second round, they knocked off Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic, and kept rolling from there, beating three other seeded duos on their way to the final. In the championship match, they faced their unseeded countrymen, Max Purcell and Matt Ebden, who had a similar run.
It was the first all-Aussie men’s doubles final in more than 40 years, and in the end, it was the wild card team of Kyrgios and Kokkinakis that came away with the win in straight sets.
It’s the second career doubles title for each of them, and perfectly caps off the Australian summer.
MAKING HISTORY—AND LOOKING FOR MORE
By the round of 16 in the women’s doubles draw, only seven seeded teams had advanced that far. One of those unheralded duos, Beatriz Haddad Maia and Anna Dalina, would ride their hot start to the year all the way to the final.
Waiting for them, though, was arguably the best team on the WTA Tour the past several years.
Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, the top seeds, didn’t drop a set through their first five matches. Even as they kicked off their 2022 campaign together somewhat late compared with their peers, the Czechs picked up right where they left off from 2021. The reigning WTA Finals champions dropped the first set against Haddad Maia and Dalina, then swept through the next two to claim their fourth Grand Slam title together. It’s the first victory in Melbourne for Krejcikova and Siniakova, and leaves them one shy of completing the career Grand Slam, with the US Open the only major missing from their collection together.
RACKING THEM UP
Win a major title and you’ve accomplished every tennis player’s dream. Do it twice and you’ve established yourself among the best of the best. Make it past five, and you become a heavy favorite every time out, with the potential to claim even more of the sport’s biggest prizes.
That’s the territory Kristina Mladenovic and Ivan Dodig find themselves in as the veterans captured the mixed doubles trophy Down Under.
It wasn’t an easy run for the fifth seeds as they were pushed to super tiebreaks in three of their first four matches en route to the final. There, they faced one of the biggest surprises of the whole tournament: the wild card duo of Jaimee Fourlis and Jason Kubler. The Australians’ impressive run came to an end in straight sets at the hands of the more experienced team.
Mladenovic captured her eighth career Slam, while Dodig won his sixth overall.
The women are off this week, while the men have three tournaments going on this week, in as many different playing conditions. “The Golden Swing” of clay-court events through Latin America kicks off in Argentina, where Santiago Gonzalez and Andres Molteni—two-time winners together last year—are the top seeds, followed by Romain Arneodo and Benoit Paire. A team to watch now and throughout the rest of the year—especially on clay—is Rafael Matos and Felipe Meligeni Rodrigues Alves, the defending champions. The Brazilians reached seven challenger finals together in 2021, and Matos played in 13 overall.
Under the roof on hard courts, Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut lead the way in Montpellier, France. The local heroes will be making their season debut after Herbert decided to pass on the Australian swing due to his vaccination status. Matwe Middelkoop and Philipp Oswald are the second seeds. And outside on hard courts, in Pune, India, top seeds Luke Saville and John-Patrick Smith are already through to the quarterfinals. Second seeds Rohan Bopanna and Ramkumar Ramanathan face off against the American veterans Jamie Cerretani and Nicholas Monroe in the first round.