As the draws start dwindling down, Doubles Take looks at the action at Roland Garros.
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Doubles Take: Checking in on the French Open
As the draws start dwindling down, Doubles Take looks at the action in Paris.
Published Jun 06, 2021
The quarterfinal spots are filling up at Roland Garros in men’s and women’s doubles, with both fields presenting an intriguing mix of former Grand slam champions and newcomers to the later stages of a major.
On the women’s side, the road to the title appears to be going through Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova. The second-seeded Czechs, who won the tournament in 2018, have only dropped one set on their way to the quarters and next face their countrywomen, Karolina and Kristyna Pliskova.
Picking up steam on the top half of the draw are the 14th seeds, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Iga Swiatek. Mattek-Sands, who’s won the women’s doubles twice in the past, and Swiatek, last year’s singles winners, battled through what was arguably the contest of the tournament in the round of 16, when they fought off seven match points to knock out Elise Mertens and Su-Wei Hsieh, the top seeds, in three sets.
Though there are players who have triumphed at Roland Garros in the past, the women’s title from the start was mostly up for grabs, with the round of 16 showing that seven of the spots were taken up by unseeded teams.
Surprisingly, a similar situation shook out on the men’s side, with 10 unseeded teams among the last 16. Going into the tournament, the overwhelming favorites were Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic, the top seeds who’ve been on a history-making tear all year. While they seemed unbeatable on the court, the duo couldn’t fight what happened off it, with positive COVID-19 tests stopping them before they got started. The Spanish duo of Pablo Andujar and Pedro Martinez has come through that section of the draw to reach the quarterfinals without losing a set. The lone seeds left in the top half of the draw, Wesley Koolhof and Jean-Julien Rojer, lost their third-round match, guaranteeing an unseeded pair will reach the final.
On the other side of the draw, the biggest surprise has been the showing of Tomislav Brkic and Nikola Cacic. The duo topped fourth-seeds Horacio Zeballos and Marcel Granollers, a pre-tournament favorite, in the second round before defeating Simone Bolelli and Maximo Gonzalez in the third round. Brkic and Cacic have reached two ATP Tour finals on clay this season, but could be in for some even tougher matches, with Grand Slam winners lurking at nearly every turn.
One of those is Kevin Krawietz, the two-time defending champion with Andreas Mies. This year, the German is playing with another major winner Horia Tecau, while Mies recovers from a leg injury. The ninth seeds face Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah next, as the second seeds—who’ve won 12 of their 18 titles together on clay—still seek their first French Open victory.