US Open Women's Doubles Preview: Can Elise Mertens and Hsieh Su-wei win their second consecutive major?Sep 01, 2021
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US Open Women's Doubles Preview: Can Elise Mertens and Hsieh Su-wei win their second consecutive major?
The duo recently claimed their first major title together at Wimbledon.
Published Sep 01, 2021
Only one player between both tours has won two Grand Slam doubles titles, and that’s world No. 1 Elise Mertens.
Can the Belgian pull off a third victory in 2021 at the US Open, or will an exceptionally deep field stop her and partner Hsieh Su-wei from winning their second major in a row?
When Hsieh and Mertens first teamed up this year, it took the duo a little while to gain their footing. Both had been at or near the top of the rankings and winning Slams with Barbora Strycova and Aryna Sabalenka, respectively. Mertens and Sabalenka won the 2019 US Open and this year’s Australian Open, which, afterward, they decided they would be playing together on an infrequent basis to focus on their singles careers. Teaming up with Hsieh—partnerless after Strycova’s retirement—has paid off, most notably at Wimbledon this year, which they won for their first title of any kind together.
In New York, their draw is somewhat tricky, with a potential matchup against Chicago finalists Lyudmyla Kichenok and Makoto Ninomiya in the second round, and the 16th seeds, Ellen Perez and Kveta Peschke, in the third. Should the top seeds battle past those teams, it only gets harder in the quarters, where they could face either Caty McNally and Coco Gauff, the 11th seeds, or Darija Jurak and Andreja Klepac, the sixth seeds who’ve been one of the best teams on tour this summer.
The other duo battling it out for the title of team of the summer is Gabriela Dabrowski and Luisa Stefani, who reached three straight finals leading up to New York. Seeded fifth, the Canadian-Brazilian pair is also in the top half of the draw, along with Nicole Melichar—a finalist at the Open last year—and Demi Schuurs, the fourth seeds. Melichar and Schuurs started off the year strong, but have been in a slump as of late, as Schuurs—one of the WTA’s most prolific title winners the past several years—still seeks a major breakthrough.
Success at the Slams is nothing new to Siniakova and Krejcikova, the second seeds. The Czechs won their second French Open title this summer and third overall at one of the big four events. Outside of the Slams, the duo also captured Gold at the Summer Games.
While those two have impressed at the sport’s biggest stages this year, Aoyama and Shibahara, have been a model of consistency on a week-to-week basis. The Japanese have won five titles together in 2021, including their most recent one right before the Open in Cleveland, and have been making gradual strides at the majors, with a run to the final four at Wimbledon their latest result. They’re in a section of the draw that includes Caroline Dolehide and Storm Sanders, the 10th seeds who were also Wimbledon semifinalists this year, as well as Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Veronika Kudermetova, the sixth seeds.
Samantha Stosur and Shuai Zhang, who just won in Cincinnati, are lurking, in the draw as well. The 14th seeds have known major success in the past, too, with a run to the Australian Open title in 2019. Their Cincy run was pretty much out of the blue as it had been a while since either of them won a doubles title.
They could potentially pull off a deep run in New York, but with so many teams looking to make a mark this season, the veterans could also fall early. Meanwhile, the top-two seeded pairs are looking past a strong campaign and are taking aim at the record books.