Every year the men’s doubles draw at the BNP Paribas Open is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get – but rest assured, it will be delightful.
The theme continues unabated in 2022, as several star-packed tandems have formed to deliver a sugar buzz to the throngs who have come through the gate this weekend to watch world-class doubles at its finest.
Four top-10 players and 12 top-20 players have entered a doubles draw in pursuit of a title that has previously been won by luminaries such as Boris Becker, Jim Courier, Rafael Nadal, Andy Roddick, the Bryan Brothers, Jack Sock and John Isner.
— BNP Paribas Open (@BNPPARIBASOPEN) March 14, 2022
“I’m just looking forward to it so much,” Isner said in a television interview before Sunday’s match, which opened the night session on Stadium 2. “When we saw the draw we knew it was going to be a possibility, both of us won and it has come to fruition. It is going to be an electric atmosphere out there and I have a good partner by my side. We like our chances out there.”
Kokkinakis and Kyrgios – nicknamed “The Special K’s” – were riding a high coming into California. The childhood friends were the toast of the Australian Open when they won the first all-Australian men’s doubles final in Melbourne since 1980.
“For some it’s not a big deal, a doubles Grand Slam, but for me and Thanasi, we literally grew up together, we grew up together since we were like ten years old, so it’s pretty crazy,” Kyrgios told reporters this week. “I watch the highlights and still get goosebumps thinking about it.”
Today the Aussie magic was no match for the American muscle, as Isner and Sock saved all seven break points they faced to claim a 6-3, 7-6(3) victory. The Americans move on to face another highly regarded tandem in Stefanos Tsitsipas and Feliciano Lopez. Champions at Acapulco, Tsitsipas and Lopez have now won 12 of their last 13 sets after taking out No.6-seeded Michael Venus and Tim Puetz on Sunday, 6-4, 6-3.
Rohan Bopanna and Denis Shapovalov also advanced on Sunday, taking out No.8-seeded Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, 7-6(4), 6-4.
No.2 seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury were also winners, along with Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Santiago Gonzalez.
Cornet and Fernandez Building Bond on the Doubles Court
Canada’s Leylah Fernandez and France’s Alizé Cornet are enjoying their time together on the doubles court. Fernandez has a lot of love for the Frenchwoman, and was happy to tell the story of how Cornet was one of the players who helped her become comfortable when she first hit the Tour several years ago.
“She was always very, very nice to me,” she told Open Court. “She’s one of the first players that was there, that helped me kind of transition and be comfortable on the Tour. I remember having trouble finding players to hit with. And every time I asked her, she would always say yes… I’m just excited to play doubles with her this tournament.”
Fernandez and Cornet reached the quarterfinals with a 6-2, 3-6, 10-2 victory over Laura Siegemund and Vera Zvonareva. They will face the Czech duo of Lucie Hradecka and Marie Bouzkova next.