The all-U.S. duo of John Isner and Jack Sock, the 2018 champions, will go for their second BNP Paribas Open men’s doubles title on Saturday when they face the unseeded Mexican-French pairing of Santiago Gonzalez and Edouard Roger-Vasselin at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
Isner/Sock, seeded No. 2, advanced to the title match with a 6-3, 6-2 dismissal of Andrey Golubev and Alexander Zverev, while Gonzalez/Roger-Vasselin roared back from a set down to upset reigning US Open champs Rajeev Ram/Joe Salisbury, 3-6, 6-4, 10-7.
Sock also captured the Indian Wells doubles crown in 2015, teaming with Canada’s Vasek Pospisil.
When Asia Muhammad found herself in need of a doubles partner a few weeks ago, she heard through the grapevine that Ena Shibahara was looking as well. A few weeks later, their fledgling partnership solidified, the pair are into the finals of one of the most prestigious events on the tennis circuit.
Talk about a stunning debut.
Muhammad and Shibahara, seeded seventh, will face the unseeded Chinese duo of Xu Yifan and Yang Zhaoxuan in Saturday’s final – as each team bids for its first title as a team.
There are some impressive doubles pedigrees among the quartet.
Xu, a 2021 US Open finalist (with Nicole Melichar) is a former world No.7 who owns ten doubles titles. Shibahara is currently ranked No.5 in the world – she paired with Shuko Aoyama and reached the WTA Finals last year.
Muhammad, who rides an eye-popping 27-match winning streak across singles and doubles (at ITF level) into Saturday’s BNP Paribas Open final, is thrilled to have the Japanese world No.5 by her side this week in the California desert.
“I’m just enjoying myself so much playing with her, I feel so relaxed which is crucial, just the positivity,” the 30-year-old American said. “This is our first time playing, but I feel like our communication is getting really good each match.”
Right back at you, says Shibahara.
“I think our chemistry has just been spot-on from the beginning and that really helps us be really comfortable when we’re out there playing matches,” Shibahara said. “And we’re also learning every match. After every match we see what we can improve on, and we can just do that together on the practice courts.”
For Shibahara, who played college tennis at nearby UCLA and now resides in Rancho Palos Verdes, raising the trophy in the California desert would be the ultimate homecoming.
“Winning my home tournament would mean the world to me, my friends and family have come to watch, just to be able to get a title in front of them would be so special,” she said.