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Doubles Take: Mahut, Herbert hoist Queen's Club trophy for the first time since 2016
A look at the ATP and WTA action taking place on the grass courts as Wimbledon approaches.
Published Jun 22, 2021
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KINGS OF QUEENS
If Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert would have decided to take the past week off and maybe squeeze in some grass-court prep right before Wimbledon, that would’ve been completely understandable. After all, they did just win the French Open only a few days ago.
Instead, the duo hit the turf as soon as possible, and played the prestigious warm-up event at Queen’s Club in London. Seeded fourth, they battled through to the final by fighting off multiple match points in the semifinals. In the championship match, Mahut and Herbert faced surprise finalists John Peers and Reilly Opelka, defeating the Aussie-American pair in straight sets.
The win marked the third time the Frenchmen have claimed the title at the tournament. The last time they did so, back in 2016, they managed to carry that momentum with them to Wimbledon, where they won their second Grand Slam title together.
CZECH THEM OUT
Sometimes a partnership just clicks—even when there’s been a little separation between events. Just look at Lucie Hradecka and Marie Bouzkova: In their first event together in 2021, the Czechs reached the final at the second tournament in Charleston, S.C., on green clay. After going their separate ways on the European dirt, the pair reunited this past week in Birmingham, England, on the grass.
In the second round, the duo knocked off Hao-Ching and Latisha Chan, the second seeds, and battled their way to the title, defeating Ons Jabeur and Ellen Perez in the championship match. For the veteran Hradecka, it’s her 25th doubles title, while Bouzkova claimed her first.
KEEPING IT ROLLING
With his regular partner Andreas Mies missing the bulk of the season, Kevin Krawietz has played with multiple teammates in 2021, having most of his success with two-time men’s doubles major champion Horia Tecau. The German-Romanian pair reached two finals in the spring and is coming off a quarterfinal showing at Roland Garros, where Krawietz and Mies were the two-time defending champions.
Kicking off their grass-court campaign in Halle, Germany, the third seeds didn’t drop a set all week, topping Felix Auger-Aliassime and Hubert Hurkacz in the championship match. Krawietz and Tecau won their first title together, with the result full of significance for the former: It’s the second championship Krawietz has claimed in his home country this year and the first of his career on grass.
THE BEST OF BELARUS
The Tokyo Olympics are practically around the corner and with that, you can expect to see more compatriots teaming up as they prepare for the medal chase. With a run to the title in Berlin, it appears Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka and Victoria Azarenka could be contenders for a place on the podium.
Seeded fourth, the duo took their first two matches in straight sets, then were pushed to a match tiebreak in the semifinals before prevailing. In the final, they faced Nicole Melichar and Demi Schuurs, the top seeds going for their third title of the year. After dropping the first set, Azarenka and Sabalenka claimed the second, then took the match tiebreak to complete their first triumph together.
A lot of top teams on both tours are looking to find their groove right before the grandest grass-court tournament of them all, Wimbledon. On the men’s side at the tournament in Eastbourne, England, Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic—who seems to have lost some momentum the past few weeks—are the top seeds, followed by 2019 Wimbledon champs Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah. The women’s draw is headlined by Nicole Melichar and Demi Schuurs, who’ll be looking to go a step further than they just did in Berlin, and Ena Shibahara and Shuko Aoyama, three-time titlists in 2021.
At the new WTA tournament in Bad Homburg, Germany, the top-seeded team of Darija Jurak and Andreja Klepac are already through to the quarterfinals. The second seeds are Nadiia Kichenok and Raluca Olaru, who are seeking their second title of 2021. The men also have another tournament on the schedule, in Mallorca, Spain, where the top seeds are Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos, followed by Marcus Daniell and Philipp Oswald. Perhaps the most intriguing pair in the draw is Carlos Gomez Herrera and Novak Djokovic, as the world No. 1 in singles looks to get in some grass-court play before Wimbledon.