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Doubles Take: Roland Garros is in the books
Good things are always possible when Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert are on the same side of the net.
Published Jun 15, 2021
The women’s singles event at Roland Garros was arguably the most surprising major this millennium, with four first-time Grand Slam semifinalists and Barbora Krejcikova emerging as the overall victor.
In doubles, things were a little more straightforward for the Czech.
Seeded second with countrywoman Katerina Siniakova, the duo won the title for the second time, defeating Iga Swiatek and Bethanie Mattek-Sands in straight sets. The win was the third Grand Slam triumph for Krejcikova this year, after winning the Melbourne mixed doubles crown. Krejcikova also became the first woman to sweep singles and doubles at Roland Garros since 2000, when Frenchwoman Mary Pierce accomplished the feat.
Hopes were high in the women’s doubles draw for Alexa Guarachi and Desirae Krawczyk, last year’s surprise runners-up. However, the fifth seeds—who just won their second title of 2021 in Strasbourg, France, right before Roland Garros—were bounced in the first round.
There was still mixed doubles to play for both, though. While Guarachi and Neal Skupski fell in the quarterfinals of the smaller tournament, Krawczyk and her partner, Joe Salisbury, went a step further. In the semifinals, the American-English duo were granted a walkover to contest the final against Aslan Karatsev and Elena Vesnina.
In a topsy-turvy championship match, it was Krawczyk and Salisbury who prevailed, winning a 10-5 match tiebreak. It’s the first major title for Krawcyzk, while Salisbury claimed his second after his triumph at the Australian Open with Rajeev Ram last year.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME
The past couple of years have been interesting ones in the partnership of Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert. After wrapping up the career Grand Slam at the Australian Open in 2019, the Frenchmen haven’t been as joined at the hip as Herbert tried to make more of a push in singles, and their title-winning pace has definitely slowed.
Still, good things are always possible when they’re on the same side of the net. And when you put them in front of an adoring audience, they’re ready to take their game to the next level, which was evident at this year’s French Open.
After fighting off match points in the semifinals, Mahut and Herbert rallied from behind in the final to top Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik and Andrey Golubev in three sets. It was the first tournament triumph on clay for the winners since 2018, when they captured the title in Paris.
It’s bye to the clay for now as the grass-court stretch enters its second week with a fairly full slate. Last week, Marcelo Demoliner and Santiago Gonzalez, and Lyudmyla Kichenok and Makoto Ninomaya won in Stuttgart and Nottingham, respectively.
In Halle, Germany, Australian Open winners Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek are the second seeds, followed by the veterans Lukasz Kubot and Edouard Roger-Vasselin. The other tournament for the men, in Queens’ Club, sees Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic sitting atop the draw as they try to get back on track after a disastrous experience in Paris. 2019 Wimbledon champions Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah are seeded second.
The women also have two events on tap. The fairly new partnership of Elise Mertens and Su-Wei Hsieh will try to set the pace as the top seeds in Birmingham, England, followed by Hao-Ching and Latisha Chan. Meanwhile, Nicole Melichar and Demi Schuurs are the top seeds at the 500-level tournament in Berlin. Ena Shibara and Shuko Aoyama, the second seeds, are already out after dropping their opener to Giuliana Olmos and Sharon Fichman in a tough first-round encounter.