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Doubles Take: Isner completes the Sunshine Doubles Double; Siegemund and Zvonareva beam
The Miami Open wrapped up with some unexpected wins. Doubles Take looks back, and previews this week’s action.
Published Apr 05, 2022
WATCH: When Opelka and Isner broke an ATP record
MIAMI IS TWICE AS NICE
It’s obvious, based on their singles results at the Miami Open over the past few years, that John Isner—champion in 2018, runner-up a year later—and 2021 winner Hubert Hurkacz know what it takes to succeed in South Beach.
Teaming up for the first time in 2022, the American and Pole put their know-how to good use on the doubles court. In three of their first four matches, Isner and Hurkacz faced a Grand Slam-winning team, and in all of the four they didn’t drop a set.
Their run brought them to a final-round clash against the most consistent team on tour this year, Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski. The seventh seeds, playing in their fourth title tilt of 2022, were only pushed to the distance once in their four matches leading up to this final. For the first time, though, they lost a championship match, as Isner and Hurkacz once again prevailed in straight sets.
With the win, Isner completes the “Sunshine Double” sweep, having triumphed in Indian Wells with Jack Sock. Hurkacz, meanwhile, claimed his third career doubles title and second at the Masters 1000 level.
MAKING HARD-COURT TENNIS LOOK EASY
It was less than two years ago when Laura Siegemund and Vera Zvonareva shocked the tennis world by capturing the US Open. They were unable to build on that, though, as Siegemund went down with an injury last year, and only returned to action a couple of months ago. Further proving that the two have true chemistry together, they won an indoor tournament in Lyon, France, in their first event together this year.
Gaining a spot in the Miami Open draw due to Siegemund’s protected ranking, the German-Russian duo made the most of their opportunities, only dropping one set in their first three matches. In the semifinals, they had to fight off five match points to advance to the championship round against the top seeds, Elise Mertens and Veronika Kudermetova. In two hard-fought sets, though, Siegemund and Zvonareva claimed the title, the third of their career together—and second-biggest after that US Open win two years ago.
And just like that, the early hard-court stretch is over, and it’s now time for the pros to start digging in the dirt in earnest. Both tours have their only U.S.-based clay-court events happening this week. The men are in Houston for the US Men’s Clay Court Championship, where the Aussies Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell are the top seeds, followed by Santiago Gonzalez—who’s been playing lights out this year—and Lukasz Kubot. The first day of play was wiped out by rain, which included the postponement of a match featuring one of the marquee teams in the field, Nick Kyrgios and Jack Sock. They’ll take on doubles specialists Andre Goransson and Nathaniel Lammons in their opener.
At the Charleston Open in South Carolina, Caroline Dolehide and Shuai Zhang lead the field. The second seeds are Desirae Krawczyk and defending champion Demi Schuurs, who won the title last year with Nicole Melichar-Martinez. Alexa Guarachi and Jessica Pegula, the third seeds are already through to the quarters.
The other WTA event this week takes place in Bogota, Colombia, where Natela Dzalamidze and Sabrina Santamaria are the top seeds, and Irina Bara and Ekaterine Gorgodze are seeded second. There’s already been an upset as fourth seeds Kaitlyn Christian and Lidziya Marozava dropped their opener.
For the men, the long-running Grand Prix Hassan II in Marrakech, Morocco, is also taking place, with Andrey Golubev and Fabrice Martin atop the draw. The second seeds are Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen, one of the most consistent teams on tour the past couple of years, but now in the midst of a slump. Several unseeded teams are capable of making their presence felt, such as Roman Jebavy and Philipp Oswald, fresh off a Challenger victory.
Perhaps the most intriguing opening-round match in the tournament will be Daniel Evans and Neal Skupski facing Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara. Skupski’s already had a career year in 2022 with Wesley Koolhof, but is quite familiar with Evans as a partner: The pair reached two Masters finals in 2021.