Koolhof/Skupski Rally For Opening Win
Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski endured a rocky start in their bid for a maiden Grand Slam title together at Roland Garros on Tuesday, but the sixth seeds ultimately advanced to the second round with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Tallon Griekspoor and Botic van de Zandschulp.
The leading team in the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Team Rankings, Koolhof and Skupski have won a Tour-leading four titles in 2022 including a maiden ATP Masters 1000 title at the Mutua Madrid Open in the first week of May. They were broken in the opening game in Paris by their Dutch opponents, who went on to take the first set, but Koolhof and Skupski recovered to complete a one-hour, 53-minute victory with the help of 37 winners.
Second seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic also enjoyed a winning start, overcoming Andre Goransson and Ben McLachlan, 6-2, 7-5. The win extended the Croatian team’s winning streak to 10 following back-to-back title runs in Rome and Geneva in the past two weeks. The streak marks a return to form for the 2021 year-end No. 1 pairing in the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Rankings after a trophy-less start to 2022.
There were convincing wins for other seeded pairings as the doubles action got underway in Paris. The 12th seeds Jean-Julien Rojer and Marcelo Arevalo brushed past Philipp Oswald and Hans Hach Verdugo 7-6(5), 6-3, while Marcelo Melo and Maximo Gonzalez, the 15th seeds, were 6-4, 6-2 winners over Aljaz Bedene and Filip Krajinovic.
There were some first-round upsets, however, headlined by home favourite Benoit Paire and his Spanish partner Albert Ramos-Vinolas edging past four-time semi-finalists Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah. Paire and Ramos-Vinolas, playing their second tournament of the year together after reaching the quarter-finals in Rio in February, claimed a 7-6 (4), 7-6(4) win over the fifth-seeded Colombians.
David Vega Hernandez and Rafael Matos dispatched 13th seeds Santiago Gonzalez and Andres Molteni with a 6-2, 6-3 win, while last week’s champions in Lyon, Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek, continued their impressive form with a 6-4, 7-6(2) triumph over eighth seeds John Peers and Filip Polasek.