Picking the winner of singles matches is challenging but pretty straight forward. Sometimes a guy may be hurt, or not in a good frame of mind (you can think of your own examples of some of those players…). Sometimes you notice that a particular player is playing particularly well and is serenely confident. But when picking a winner, I….or you….pick one player over another. Doubles is a totally different story.
Sometimes guys travel to a tournament site with the intent on playing with a particular partner and the partner can’t fill his role as part of a team. Maybe his schedule got messed up because of a late airplane. Maybe he has a nagging injury that he needs to take a short break from tennis in order to heal from. Maybe he’s fighting with his significant other and needs to be off site so as to settle some personal issues. Or maybe his partnership with a longtime tennis partner has hit the skids. Most difficult is when a player stops playing with a longtime partner and enters a tournament with a different partner. This makes it hard to evaluate because it’s hard to determine how these two new teammates will mesh together until they’ve played together or awhile. But whatever the reason, picking doubles matches is much, much harder than picking winners of singles matches.
With that said, I made predictions for all of the four quarterfinal doubles matches played in sunny Acapulco, and I want to visit their outcome and my performance.
I picked the top seeds, Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah to top Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen. Cabal/Farah topped Gille/Vliegen 6-7, 6-4, 10-8. One for one.
I went with Nikola Cacic and Dusan Lajovic to stop Santiago Gonzalez and Ken Skupski. Cacic/Lajovic triumphed 4-6, 6-4, 10-2. Remember in lieu of a third set, in all their wisdom, the ATP has their finely tuned athletes play a “Champion’s Tiebreaker” consisting of the first team to 10 points for the third set. At one set apiece, the winner of the Champion’s Tiebreaker wins the match. In this case Cacic/Lajovic took their tiebreaker 10-2, at a set apiece. Two for two.
I took Adrian Mannarino and Fabrice Martin over the Zverev Brothers, Alexander and Mischa. The Frenchmen won, 6-1, 6-4 and denied the Germans the opportunity to repeat as doubles champions here in Acapulco. Three for three.
In the last quarterfinal match I picked Lukasz Kubot/Marcelo Melo to knock off the more glamorous Grigor Dimitrov/Taylor Fritz team. That was an easy one for me, as after they both played singles in the hot Mexican air, both Dimitrov and Fritz withdrew. After all, they both won their singles matches, they both were fatigued, and they both have to play tomorrow for big money. Four for four.