Nitto ATP Finals: Doubles preview and predictions
Defending champions Mahut and Herbert have not qualified this year (Photo: Getty Images Europe)

The 2020 doubles season comes to its conclusion at the Nitto ATP Finals in London This is the final time the event will be held at the O2 Arena, unfortunately with no fans, before moving to Turin next year.

The singles event augmented its entry rules due to the five-month break caused by the pandemic to take the Top 8 players from the official rankings, not the race.

Doubles is unaffected by the change and takes the Top 8 from the race, resulting in stalwarts such as Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah or the defending champions Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert missing the finals.

First alternates will be Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski, who were in play until Melzer and Roger-Vasselin reached the final. Murray and Skupski reached the same number of points as Kubot and Melo but played more tournaments, which means they are reduced to alternates. The second alternates are Australian Open finalists Max Purcell and Luke Saville.

This year, the groups are named after the Bryan Brothers, honoring the legendary doubles pair as they say goodbye to professional tennis this year.

Group Bob Bryan

No.1 Mate Pavic & Bruno Soares: Pavic and Soares have been on fire since the restart, winning the US Open and reaching the finals of the French Open and Paris-Bercy. The pair have been playing together consistently for the past 18 months, Pavic playing some additional tournaments with other partners. With their current form, this team definitely deserves to be the top seed and are likely favorites for the title here.

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No. 4 Marcel Granollers & Horacio Zeballos: Granollers and Zeballos first teamed up in Montreal last year and went on a ten-match streak, winning Montreal and losing in the final of the US Open. In 2020, they have had success on clay, winning the title in Buenos Aires, Rio De Janeiro, and Rome but little outside of it, not even playing since the French Open.

No. 6 John Peers & Michael Venus: The Kiwi-Australian duo teamed up at the beginning of this year, not really making an impact at the slams as they did not advance past the third round. Peers and Venus won three titles, two 500s in Dubai and Hamburg and a 250 in Antwerp. Their recent form hasn't been the best with early losses in Vienna and Paris-Bercy. John Peers, however, already lifted the trophy twice, back-to-back in 2016 and 2017 alongside Henri Kontinen. Michael Venus was the finalist last year with Raven Klaasen, so both have a strong record at the ATP Finals. 

No. 7 Jurgen Melzer & Edouard Roger-Vasselin: Melzer and Roger-Vasselin were the last team to clinch their spot, needing to reach the final in Sofia. Their story is even enhanced by the fact that Jurgen Melzer has announced that he will retire at the 2021 Australian Open and making his third ATP Finals appearance (first since 2011) will definitely make the end of his career more special. The Austrian and Frenchman teamed up at last year's Paris-Bercy and has since won the title at St. Petersburg and reached the semifinals in Rome and this year's Paris-Bercy.

Predictions: 1st: Pavic/Soares, 2nd: Peers/Venus

Group Mike Bryan

No. 2 Rajeev Ram & Joe Salisbury: Ram and Salisbury have now played two full seasons together, competing at the ATP Finals last year as well. This year, they come to London in a stronger place as the second seeds with the Australian Open title on their backs. Ram and Salisbury also reached the semifinals of the US Open and Western & Southern Open as well as the quarterfinals at the French Open.

No. 3 Kevin Krawietz & Andreas Mies: The German pair have been playing together since 2017, living the life of Challenger journeymen until they were catapulted into the top with their shock 2019 French Open title, finishing their dream season off at the ATP Finals. Their results were middling through most of the 2020 season, but they once again broke away at the French Open and defended their title. After that, Krawietz and Mies reached the final of Cologne 2 and the semifinals of Vienna, coming into the finals in decent form.

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No. 5 Wesley Koolhof & Nikola Mektic: This is Wesley Koolhof's debut in London while Mektic will be hoping to get a re-do on his first time as him and Alexander Peya only played two matches due to injury. The team began playing together this year and reached the final of the US Open and semifinals at the French. 

No. 8 Lukasz Kubot & Marcelo Melo: Kubot and Melo, the most experienced pair in the tournament, first played together in 2015 but didn't become a regular team until the fall of 2016. In 2017, the pair won Wimbledon together and reached the final of the ATP Finals and are defending a semifinal here from last year. This year has been less successful for the two veterans, going 2-3 in slams this year, but they did win two titles in Vienna and Acapulco. In recent form, the team have had the title from Vienna and followed it up with semifinals in Paris-Bercy, so they will definitely be a team to watch for.

Predictions: 1st: Kubot/Melo, 2nd: Ram/Salisbury

Semifinals: Kubot/Melo def. Peers/Venus, Pavic/Soares def. Ram/Salisbury

Final: Mate Pavic/Bruno Soares def. Lukasz Kubot/Marcelo Melo

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