The Runner Sports

2017 US Open Doubles Update

While the singles always takes precedence over the doubles event, there are a lot of strong teams left to take the title in both the 2017 US Open men’s and women’s doubles fields. The men’s and women’s doubles events at the US Open are both structured the same, sixteen seeded teams, and a best-of-three format. Doubles is a fast-paced environment where quick reflexes and decision-making flourish. The defending champions for the men’s event are Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, who are seeded fourth this year. The defending women’s champions, Lucie Safarova and Bethanie Mattek-Sands, are not in tandem right now since Mattek-Sands had a season-ending fall at Wimbledon this year, rupturing and dislocating her kneecap. Safarova is competing with Barbora Strycova this year.

Murray and Soares have not performed particularly well since winning last year, which shows the depth of men’s doubles. Although they have won three tour-level titles since then. Remaining standing in the way of Murray and Soare’s title defense includes No. 1 seeds Henri Kontinen and John Peers, No. 12 seeds Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau, No. 5 seeds Bob and Mike Bryan, and the unseeded team of Julien Benneteau and Edouard Roger-Vasselin. Kontinen and Peers won the Australian Open title this year and reached the Wimbledon semifinals, but have not performed consistently since January, winning only one other title. Seeded only 12th, Rojer and Tecau won Wimbledon in 2015, making them a dangerous pair. Winning 113 doubles titles, 16 Grand Slams, and ending the year ranked No. 1 on 10 different occasions, the Bryan Brothers may have slipped a bit in the rankings and performance, but they are always going to be contenders. Benneteau and Roger-Vasselin may be unseeded, but took out the No. 2 seeds in the second round; they also won the 2014 French Open title, so they know how to handle the big occasions.

Two dark horse teams are No. 11 Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez (no relation), who won the 2016 French Open, and the No. 9 Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic, who were finalists at this year’s Wimbledon.

The favorites for the women’s doubles title have to be top seeds Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova. They won the US Open before back in 2014, and have two other Grand Slam titles together. Add a gold medal from last year’s Olympics, and you can see why they are the heavy favorites. Vesnina and Makarova have the No. 7 seed Lucie Hradecka and Katerina Siniakova in their quarter, who defeated them at the French Open this year, so expect a tough match there. Vesnina and Makarova also have one half of the defending champion’s team, Safaraova and her compatriot Strycova, who are seeded third, in their section. Safarova and Strycova ended Serena and Venus’ Olympic streak and went on to win a bronze medal at last year’s Olympics. However, the top rival for the title are numerically after the top seeds, the No. 2 seeds Martina Hingis and Chan Yung-Jan. Losing in the semifinals of the French Open and the quarterfinals of Wimbledon, Hingis and Yung-Jan have six tour-level titles, but Grand Slam glory has been hard. An interesting matchup, Hingis and Chan take on Chan’s little sister, Chan Hao-Ching and her partner Zhang Shuai next.

Another team that has the potential to take the spotlight are the No. 4 seeds Sania Mirza and Peng Shuai. Mirza and Peng have both been ranked No. 1 before, and Mirza is Hingis’ old doubles partner, so she’s got the inside scoop on the Swiss legend.

Although we have seen a lot of unpredictable results in singles at the US Open this year, you will find it more common in the doubles. Points are quicker and the momentum shifts more sporadically, so living up to your seeding is something to be proud of. There are more upsets in doubles and that is what makes doubles so special in tennis, sharing a lifetime memory, with a friend.

 

 

Doubles Picks:

Men’s Doubles: Bob and Mike Bryan

Women’s Doubles: Sania Mirza and Peng Shuai

Conrad Ellis

Conrad Ellis

Stevenson University graduate, class of 2016
Played tennis for 14 years and counting, favorite shot is forehand
Conrad Ellis