Doubles Take is back with a look at the latest action on the ATP and WTA tours.

‘DEMINIK’ DOMINATES

Over the past several years, Nicole Melichar and Demi Schuurs have been two of the most consistent players on the WTA tour. The American and Dutchwoman decided to team up this year and, after an opening-round loss in their first match of 2021, have hit their stride. After reaching the semifinals at a tune-up tournament in Melbourne, the pair returned to the final four at the main event, the Australian Open, and the prevailed at the WTA 500-level event in Doha, Qatar. Clearly, they will be contending for the tour’s biggest prizes in the weeks to come.

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In the final, the second seeds defeated Monica Niculescu in a match tiebreak. For Schuurs, it’s the 13th title of her career, while Melichar captured her ninth.

THE CROATIAN SENSATIONS KEEP GOING

Another new partnership this year is the one between the ATP’s Mate Pavic and Nikola Mektic. The chemistry has been perfect between the Croatian pair: They started off the year with wins in their first two tournaments, then ran their winning streak to 12 matches before being stopped in the Australian Open semifinals.

In their first tournament after Melbourne, Pavic and Mektic resumed their winning ways in Rotterdam, claiming their third title of the year in four tournaments played.

In defeating Horia Tecau and Kevin Krawietz in the final, Pavic has now won three titles or more in a season for the fourth time in the past six years. Mektic has now accomplished the feat for the second time in the past three seasons.

WELCOME TO THE WINNERS’ CIRCLE

At times on the professional level, if it even happens at all, it can take a while to make a breakthrough—a fact that Tomislav Brkic can definitely attest to.

A pro for 13 years, the 30-year-old from Bosnia and Herzegovina finally experienced that winning moment on the main tour when he and Nikola Cacic triumphed at the Argentina Open.

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After winning their opening match, they advanced to the semifinals by way of a walkover, then eked out a win against Dominik Koepfer and Joao Sousa. In the final, they defeated the fourth seeds and this year’s Delray Beach champions, Ariel Behar and Gonzalo Escobar, in straight sets. It’s the third career title for Cacic, while Brkic can now call himself an ATP champion.

IT WAS EASY—UNTIL IT WASN’T

At the Lyon Open, a WTA indoor event in France, Arantxa Rus and Viktoria Kuzmova showed why they were the top seeds in the draw, dominating their first three matches to reach their first final together.

Then, things got a little tricky in the championship match against Olga Danilovic and Genie Bouchard, with Rus and Kuzmova dropping their first set of the week. They managed to win a tight second set to send the battle into a match tiebreak. In the end, the Dutch-Slovak duo prevailed.

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The Lyon win marks the first title together for Rus and Kuzmova, and is also the first of the year for each of them.

THIS WEEK

The schedule is packed this week, with five events between the two tours. It’s the men’s turn in Doha this week, with a Grand-Slam-worthy draw. Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, the top seeds, are through to the second round. Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic, three-time winners in 2021, are the second seeds. Under the roof in Marseille, France, the Englishmen are leading the field: Ken and Neal Skupski are the top seeds, followed by Luke Bambridge and Dominic Inglot. And in Santiago, Chile, on the third leg of the “Golden Swing” on clay, Raven Klaasen and Ben McLachlan are the top seeds, followed by Austin Krajicek and Franko Skugor.

For the women, it’s another deep draw in the Middle East, this time in Dubai. Australian Open champions Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka are the top seeds, followed by Barbora Krecikova and Katerina Siniakova. Doha winners Nicole Melichar and Demi Schuurs are the third seeds. In Guadalajara, Mexico, Desirae Krawczyk and Giuliana Olmos sit atop the draw, followed by Caroline Dolehide and tour veteran Vania King—who, it seems, isn’t done yet after announcing her retirement last year.