The semifinal of the Men’s Doubles event will take place at the US Open on Thursday, with the Louis Armstrong Stadium holding host to what is a blockbuster line-up.
Coronavirus restrictions have meant that the event has been a 32-team draw instead of the usual 64, though there has been no shortage of drama. Four of the eight seeded teams fell in the first round of the tournament, with defending champions and top seeds Juan Sebastien Cabal and Robert Farah losing in the second round.
Just two seeded teams remain at the semifinal stage though it is a high quality field, with six of the eight men having won Grand Slam doubles titles before. It should be a fascinating day of action.
(3rd) Rajeev Ram/Joe Salisbury vs (8th) Wesley Koolhof/Nikola Mektic
Only one American has made it to the last four in the Men’s Doubles draw, with Rajeev Ram playing alongside Brit Joe Salisbury. Ram and Salisbury qualified for the ATP Finals last season before winning their first major title as a pair at the Australian Open this year, and are arguably the favorites for the title now considering their recent form and the fact that they are the highest ranked team left in the draw.
Ram and Salisbury have only dropped one set across their three matches and have looked in impressive form, though face a real step up in class against eighth seeds Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic. Koolhof has won five doubles titles on tour and is now in his first Grand Slam semifinal whilst Mektic, a former Davis Cup champion and Mixed Doubles winner in Melbourne this year, is in a first Men’s Doubles semifinal and will be looking to reach the final for the first time.
The Dutch-Croat pair have also dropped just one set on their way to the last four though, like Ram and Salisbury, are yet to face a seeded pair. This on paper should be the toughest match both teams have had, with current form suggesting that it will be Ram/Salisbury who prevail.
Prediction: Ram/Salisbury in straight sets
Jean-Julien Rojer/Horia Tecau vs Mate Pavic/Bruno Soares
The second semifinal of the day pits two unseeded pairs against each other, with Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau taking on Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares, though no one should be too surprised that these two pairings have reached this stage of the draw.
Rojer and Tecau are one of the most accomplished teams of recent seasons having won two Grand Slam titles, including at Flushing Meadows three years ago, and have displayed sensational form so far. The Dutch-Romanian pair have been in great form this week, highlighted most by their straight sets win over top seeds Cabal and Farah in the second round, and certainly have the experience to take the title from here on in.
Perhaps no pair has had a tough past to the semifinals that Pavic and Soares. Former world number one and Australian Open champion Pavic and two-time major winner Soares beat 2019 runners-up and fifth seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos in the opening round, and have since come up against teams featuring high-quality doubles players such as Jack Sock and Jamie Murray- Soares’ former partner. They have certainly been battle-hardened on their way to the last four.
This is a particularly tough semifinal to predict, though the experience of a longer partnership may benefit Rojer and Tecau
Prediction: Rojer/Tecau in three sets