HEAR THEM ROAR

Back in 2018, Su-Wei Hsieh and Barbora Strycova entered the tournament in Indian Wells, Calif.—their first time playing together—and promptly went on to win the whole thing, kicking off a successful partnership that took them to the top of the rankings. When their run ended with Strycova’s retirement this year, Hsieh teamed up with another former Indian Wells winner, Elise Mertens. It took them only five tournaments to capture their first title together, and it was a big one as they triumphed at Wimbledon.

Playing this late-season version of Indian Wells, the second seeds were seeking their first victory since that win at the All-England Club several months ago. After taking their opener in straight sets, Mertens and Hsieh battled through a match tiebreak in the second round then cruised from there, winning their next three matches in straight sets, including a final-round triumph over Veronika Kudermetova and Elena Rybakina.

Hsieh, who started donning a dragon-styled cowl after her later-round wins, claimed the 30th title of her career, while Mertens made her way back to the top of the rankings.

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THE HOT STREAK CONTINUES

Filip Polasek, whose comeback has been one of the most impressive in the men’s game over the past few years, kicked off his 2021 campaign with his first Grand Slam in Melbourne with Ivan Dodig. However, by the middle of the season, the former ATP Finals qualifiers split up after a brief rut, with Polasek going on to play with former world No. 1 John Peers at the start of the summer hard-court season.

Since the US Open, the Slovakian-Australian duo has been on fire: The pair reached the semifinals in New York, then followed that up with a runner-up showing in San Diego. After surviving a tough opener in Indian Wells, Polasek and Peers never looked back: They thrashed Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic, the top seeds, in the quarters, then beat Dodig and Marcelo Melo in the semifinals, to set up a final against Andrey Rublev and Aslan Karatsev. Best known for their singles play, the unseeded Russian duo won in Qatar earlier in the year in their first final together. However, their run came to an end at the hands of the more experienced doubles specialists.

Both Polasek and Peers won their second title of 2021 and first together. Provided they continue to play at their current level, more victories could be coming their way.

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THIS WEEK

It’s another joint event for both tours this week: this time, halfway around the world in Moscow, Russia, for the Kremlin Cup. Alexa Guarachi and Desirae Krawczyk—two-time titlists and US Open semifinalists in 2021—are the top seeds on the women’s side, followed by Jelena Ostapenko and Katerina Siniakova. For the men, Raven Klaasen and Ben McLachlan headline the draw, with Hugo Nys and Andrey Golubev the second seeds.

The other tournament on the ATP calendar is the European Open in Antwerp, Belgium. The reunited team of Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo, fresh off a deep run in Indian Wells, are the top seeds. Frenchmen Nicolas Mahut and Fabrice Martin are the second seeds: Having known success with other compatriots, the duo will try to reach its first final together. And for the women, there’s a brand-new tournament this week, in Tenerife, Spain. The field is pretty strong, led by Darija Jurak and Andreja Klepac, who will be trying to reach their fifth final of 2021. Eri Hozumi and US Open champion Zhang Shuai are the second seeds.