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Grand Slam champions, Canadian wildcards highlight dynamic doubles field

Aug 06, 2017
written by: Tennis Canada
written by: Tennis Canada

Doubles, anyone?

Not to be outdone by an exciting and well-balanced singles draw, the doubles draw this week at Rogers Cup presented by National Bank offers up a dynamic mix of the world’s top talent in addition to some of Canada’s finest.

Top teams kick off their summer hardcourt season

Reigning Wimbledon doubles champs Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova arrive in Toronto on the back of strong form in both singles and doubles. Vesnina achieved her career-best singles result at the BNP Paribas Open earlier this year in Palm Springs, California – while Makarova captured the title at the Citi Open in Washington on Sunday.

The Russian No.1 seeds will look to defend their Rogers Cup crown, which they won over Simona Halep and Monica Niculescu last year in Montréal.

Their primary opposition comes in the form of tennis legend Martina Hingis of Switzerland and her Taiwanese partner Yung-jan Chan, the No.2 seeds this week. The duo has been on a tear this season with five titles across three different surfaces, including prestigious crowns in Indian Wells, Rome and Madrid.

The remaining top seeds are rounded out by Olympic bronze medalists Barbora Strycova and Lucie Safarova, as well as Indian superstar Sania Mirza and Peng Shuai of China.

Canadian wild cards take over Toronto

Several talented young Canadians highlight the wild card entries this year. 16-year-old Carson Branstine and 17-year-old Bianca Andreescu opening against Kristina Mladenovic and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the first round of doubles action. The Canadian rising stars were crowned champions at both Australian Open and the French Open this year in the girl’s doubles competition and look to translate that success onto the pro circuit.

Fact: Andreescu defeated Mladenovic just last week at the Citi Open in Washington. It was the Mississauga-native’s first victory over Top 20 opposition – and made her the first player born this century to score a win over an opponent of that rank.

Stanford University standout Carol Zhao, who fell just short of a main draw berth in singles, will team up with 18-year-old Charlotte Robillard-Millette of Montréal. They face a tricky duo in Ana Konjuh and Anastasia Sevastova, a partnership of singles players that marries raw power with deft court craft.

Fun teams to keep an eye on…

Genie Bouchard teams up with newly-minted singles World No.1 Karolina Pliskova in one of the more surprising partnerships this week at Rogers Cup. Although neither player has an extensive track record in doubles, their singles resumes are impressive. In fact, Bouchard won her first WTA title back in 2014 over none other than her doubles partner this week.

In another surprising pairing, one 2017 French Open champion will team up with another: Jelena Ostapenko, victorious in the women’s singles in Paris the season, will hold court alongside doubles specialist Gabriela Dabrowski of Ottawa, who won the mixed doubles on the iconic red clay courts of Roland Garros.

Also be sure to have a look out for singles Top 10’ers Johanna Konta and Elina Svitolina. Both have had standout results this year on tour with Konta reaching the Wimbledon semifinals in front of her home crowd and Svitolina claiming four titles and maintaining impressive consistency across all surfaces.

Check out the complete doubles draw here.