At the heart of the season’s midpoint, Roland Garros gives us an opportunity to reflect back on the first six months of the year. Which teams are continuing to build on a strong season last year? Which new 2023 partnerships are raising eyebrows? Which struggling teams are on breakup watch?
In the women’s doubles game, the top alpha teams have largely remained intact despite world no. 1 Katerina Siniakova being injured during the clay swing. This minor setback hasn’t stopped her from inking her place in doubles history, as she recently became the 8th woman to occupy the No. 1 doubles spot for 100 weeks.
Four of the top 8 WTA teams who qualified for the WTA Finals in 2022 remain in the top 8 race for 2023 – Barbora Krejcikova/Katerina Siniakova, Coco Gauff/Jessica Pegula, Lyudmyla Kichenok/Jelena Ostapenko and Desirae Krawczyk/Demi Schuurs. The top 8 race also includes other experienced doubles teams or players who have qualified with a mix of different partners, including Shuko Aoyama/Ena Shibahara and Elise Mertens/Storm Hunter.
The men’s doubles game in 2023 has been anything but consistent thus far with top teams struggling and new teams emerging who have caught fire together, most notably the Indian/Aussie duo of Rohan Bopanna and Matt Ebden. Only three of the 8 teams who qualified for the 2022 ATP Finals are currently in the 2023 race – Wesley Koolhof/Neal Skupski (No. 3), Lloyd Glasspool/Harri Heliovaara (No. 6), and Ivan Dodig/Austin Krajicek (No. 8).
Relative to the other majors, Roland Garros has historically delivered some of the biggest upsets and surprise champions. Will this year bring a tournament of surprises or usual suspects holding the doubles trophy in two weeks?
10 WTA and ATP Doubles Teams to Watch at Roland Garros
From the top contenders and resident “dirt-ballers” to unseeded sleepers and home crowd favorites, here’s our doubles preview with 10 ATP and WTA doubles teams to watch at 2023 Roland Garros.
Top 3 WTA Contenders in Paris
No.1 Barbora Krejcikova/Katerina Siniakova: The top Czech duo is chasing history with every new major they win. Their 11-0 record in 2023 speaks for itself, which includes a 7th major title at the Australian Open and their first Indian Wells title together. Although Siniakova has been injured the last few months, it would be foolish to bet against them. They always show up on the big stages when it matters most and have developed a Serena-esque aura about them whenever they step on the doubles court.
No. 2 Coco Gauff/Jessica Pegula: During the Czechs’ absence this spring, Gauff and Pegula have picked up the mantle as the ladies in waiting for the top doubles spot. The Americans have posted a 23-5 (82%) record in 2023 two titles in Doha and Miami along with back-to-back finals appearances on clay in Madrid and Rome.
The draw gods in Paris weren’t kind to them though, as they face off against the veteran unseeded duo of Vera Zvonareva/Laura Siegemund in the first round with a potential second round rematch looming against Victoria Azarenka/Beatriz Haddad-Mia, who beat Gauff/Pegula decisively in the Madrid final.
No. 8 Gaby Dabrowski/Luisa Stefani: Since reuniting earlier this year, the popular duo of Gaby Dabrowski & Luisa Stefani hasn’t lived up to their high expectations quite yet. Look for them to play into form in Paris with a workable draw and a full three-set format that benefits the better teams. At full strength, they are a top 3 WTA doubles team who is capable of winning any tournament they play in.
Top 3 ATP Contenders in Paris
No. 1 Wesley Koolhof/Neal Skupski: The top seeds have yet to win a title this year after a stellar debut season together in 2022, but they have remained a constant at the top of the game in the midst of a topsy-turvy year on the ATP doubles circuit. Koolhof and Skupski are 22-11 on the year with two runner-up performances in Indian Wells and Barcelona. Could Roland Garros be the site of their first grand slam title together?
No. 4 Ivan Dodig/Austin Krajicek: The 2022 Roland Garros finalists lost a heartbreaking final last year with championship points on their racquet. They enter Roland Garros with limited tournament play together this year due to Dodig being sidelined with an injury, but their Monte Carlo Masters 1000 title gives them a nice feather in their clay court hat to make a deep run here this year. Dodig is alsoa 2015 Roland Garros champion alongside former partner Marcelo Melo.
No. 6 Matt Ebden/Rohan Bopanna: The pair of veterans teamed up at the beginning of 2023 and haven’t looked back since. Currently, they are No. 2 in the ATP Race with two titles on the year in Doha and Indian Wells and a runner-up performance in Madrid.
Doubles Crowd Favorites at Roland Garros 2023
WTA Crowd Favorites
Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Sara Errani: Both veteran players are former Roland Garros champions who each have five women’s doubles majors to their resume. Errani and Mattek-Sands were once rivals in the prime of their doubles career alongside former partners Roberta Vinci and Lucie Safarova, but now they’ll share the doubles court for the first time in their career.
Hsieh Su-wei/Xinyu Wang: It’s never a dull moment when Hsieh Su-wei takes the court. The four-time doubles major champion and former World No. 1 is teaming up with young Chinese talent Xinyu Wang in a winnable section of the draw with the vulnerable No. 9 team of Kristina Mladenovic/Zhang Shuai. Upset alert?
ATP Crowd Favorites
Pierre Hugues-Herbert/Nicolas Mahut: There’s always magic in the air when Herbert and Mahut team up together on the dirt in Paris. If nothing else, the two-time Roland Garros champions will be a sentimental favorite for a deep run. The highest seed in their section is No. 2 Ram/Salisbury, who have struggled thus far in 2023. Could the French favorite team be poised to cause a string of upsets?
Richard Gasquet/Lucas Pouille: In another all-Frenchman doubles team, Lucas Pouille’s first round win and comeback story from depression and alcoholism is the best story of the tournament thus far. Gasquet is a consummate veteran who was once hyped up to be Nadal’s greatest rival during their junior days. They’ll have a difficult first round test against the in-form No. 7 Hugo Nys & Jan Zielinski.
Dangerous Darkhorses Who Could Make a Run in Paris
Victoria Azarenka/Beatriz Haddad-Maia: In their first tournament together at Madrid, they posted an impressive run to the championship with a convincing defeat over top-seeded Gauff/Pegula in the finals. The catch? They could face the Americans again in a potential second round clash at Roland Garros.
No. 10 Leylah Fernandez/Taylor Townsend: Fan favorites “Ley-Tay” seem to fill up the stands wherever they play since teaming up together earlier this year. The American/Canadian lefty pair is committed to playing together throughout the year with the goal of qualifying for the WTA Finals, where they currently sit at No. 9 in the race. They have a tricky first round matchup against a pair of former Roland Garros doubles champions – Sara Errani and Bethanie-Mattek Sands.
No. 9 Santiago Gonzalez/Edouard Roger-Vasselin: The No. 4 team in the ATP race has been one of the most consistent performers in 2023 with two titles in Miami and Marseille and semi-finals runs in Madrid and Indian Wells. With a combined 43 years on tour, their experience paired with the French home support for Roger-Vasselin will play into their favor. Roger-Vasselin was also a champion here in 2014 alongside countryman Julien Benneteau.
No. 14 Maximo Gonzalez/Andres Molteni: The Argentine pair has posted a tour-leading three doubles titles in 2023 thus far. All three titles have come on outdoor clay in Cordoba, Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona, where they defeated No. 1 Koolhof/Skupski in the finals. The conditions at Roland Garros should be ripe for them to make a deep run.
Defending Roland Garros Doubles Champions
Kristina Mladenovic/Caroline Garcia: Unfortunately, the 2022 champions will not be defending their title together. Mladenovic enters with the slumping Shuai Zhang as the No. 9 seed, while Garcia is focused exclusively on singles. Despite lack of recent form, don’t count out Mladenovic and Zhang. Mladenovic, a three-time Roland Garros doubles champion, has won 3 of the last 4 titles here and always seems to find her best form in Paris.
No. 3 Marcelo Arevalo/Jean-Julien Rojer: Both of “Chelo” and Rojer’s 2023 titles have come on hard courts, but they posted strong semi-final runs in Madrid and Geneva leading up to Roland Garros. They survived a tough first round test against the Tsitsipas brothers 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, which should give them the early confidence they’ll need to replicate last year’s success. We’ll see how they handle the pressure of being defending champions.
Unseeded Sleeper Teams Who Could Go Far in the Draw
WTA Unseeded Sleepers
Vera Zvonareva/Laura Siegemund: The 2020 U.S. Open champions are never an unseeded team you want to see floating in your section of the draw with the weapons and doubles court sense that can beat nearly any team when playing well. Add Siegemund/Zvonareva to your potential list of first round upsets as they prepare to square off in a blockbuster clash against No. 2 Gauff/Pegula.
Timea Babos/Anna Danilina: Timea Babos is a two-time Roland Garros champion with Kristina Mladenovic in 2019-2020 and Anna Danilina has proven to be a capable doubles player with a number of partners in recent years. They have a tough opener against another dangerous unseeded pairing, Monica Niculescu/Makoto Ninomiya.
ATP Unseeded Sleepers
Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah: The former World No. 1 Colombian pair has dropped outside the top 50 after a difficult start to 2023 with a 5-12 record. Despite inconsistent form on a week-in, week-out basis, Cabal and Farah typically find their best form at the majors and last year posted back-to-back semi-finals appearances at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
Simone Bolelli/Fabio Fognini: Five of their six ATP career doubles titles together have come on outdoor clay, including the trophy at Buenos Aires earlier this year. Their only non-clay title wasn’t too shabby either at the 2015 Australian Open. The Italian veterans haven’t been in their best form this year, but Fognini’s first round upset victory over Felix Auger-Aliassime could bring back the Fognini fire this team needs to make a deep run in Paris.
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