Saturday, 17 October 2015


The World of doubles tennis is in a word 'tough' as there are so many high quality combinations out there just looking for a slice of luck to beat high quality opponents. Take for example the recent Shanghai Masters tournament where the Bryan brothers lost in the round of 16 by the rather heart breaking score of 6-7, 7-6, 10-7 to Cabal and Farah, another handy team. The second set tie breaker score was 9-7. In a nutshell there was nothing in this match, I am stating the obvious.
Matkowski and Zimonjic, the number 3 seeded team just squeaked by the Aussie team of Kyrgios and Tomic 6-7, 6-4, 10-8 in the same round. When's the last time you heard of the Aussie boys playing doubles together ? This form of the game is almost a raffle if a scratch pairing like that can almost topple a team of that calibre. In the same round again the Wimbledon Champions Tecau and Rojer lost by the score of 7-5, 7-5 to Lopez and Mirnyi, the latter a doubles genius. Once again, nothing in it.
The quarter finals of this event were surprisingly one sided, three straight sets results and one walk over, most unusual though I like to look more into some scores than probably most do. A 6-3, 6-4 score line is basically just a break each set as is 6-4, 7-5 which were two of the results so that's tight tennis where one team senses a chance at a pivotal time, the other not so up to the challenge.
Klaasen and Melo seeded 6 took on the number 8 seeded pair of Bopanna and Kubot in the semi finals and the score of 6-3, 6-7, 10-7 says it all. One team found a way to edge ahead in a third set super tie breaker that shows what you require to be successful at a sport such as tennis. There is no place in tennis for nerves when it gets tight.
Boleli and Fognini as we all know are a remarkable doubles team and their style is typical of today's way of playing with plenty of baseline hitting as opposed to the standard serve and volley of say the Bryan brothers. As the number 5 seeded team they earned the right to play the number 7 seeded team of Nestor and Roger- Vasselin in the other semi. That in itself typifies today's doubles in World tennis. The number 5, 6, 7 and 8 teams played off in the semi finals rather than the usual top 4 playing off in singles.
Boleli and Fognini, the 2015 Australian Open champions just got over the line 5-7, 7-6, 10-3 and there is another score that tells you this match was almost over in two straight sets.
The second set tie breaker was won by the Italians 7-5, a two point buffer that could quite easily have gone the other way with just a little bit of luck or a slight change in a tactical play. I am certain the final will be a classic.
Playing doubles for a living is tough because there are so many great combinations and unless it is a Grand Slam event the matches are all decided with a third set super tie breaker. Every point then is gold.
A player of Fognini's ability can play both forms of the game at an amazingly high level and not all professional players can do that. John McEnroe did both to perfection and made an awful lot of money in the process. Some do it just for fun as Jack Sock has often said. Half of the winning 2014 Wimbledon Mens Doubles combination has not hidden his desire to want to become known as a singles player yet he seems to have more success in doubles.
The main thing about doubles however is that it's easier on the body hence guys such as Paes, Nestor and Mirnyi still find great success into their late 30's and early 40's. A lot more money is available for doubles experts now so these guys don't have to bother with the physical demands of singles.
And rightly so, nothing better than watching an entertaining match of doubles that involve some chip, charge, slice and dice type of points that finish more often than not at the net.
Personally I like the challenge of singles but my ageing legs appreciate how doubles looks after the body a little better. Tennis, it's often about the type of game you own and what your body can handle when it comes to making up your mind as to what form of it you should play.
Most of the time it's how you wake up the next day, that should help you make up your mind.....

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