NEW YORK, NY, USA - Familiar partnerships and new pairings are set to take center stage in the Western & Southern Open doubles event, which sees six of the Top 10 women in the doubles rankings in the draw at the relocated Premier 5 event.
Topping the draw at the Premier 5 event are No.1 seeds Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka, who have fond memories of the last time they were on court together at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
Last summer, the pair won their first Grand Slam title together in Flushing Meadows, and will bid for their seventh straight win at the venue in their opening match against American wildcards Ann Li and Bernarda Pera.
Defending champions Lucie Hradecka and Andreja Klepac, seeded No.8, will open against the Canadian-Croatian pairing of Sharon Fichman and Darija Jurak, and could be on course for a meeting with Mertens and Sabalenka in the quarterfinals as they bid for a title defense at the new venue.
The No.2 seeds in the draw, American Nicole Melichar and China's Xu Yifan, have already won a title in the abbreviated 2020 season so far. To kick off their partnership in January, the duo won the Adelaide International, defeating Jurak and Xu's former partner Gabriela Dabrowski in the final, 2–6, 7–5, 10-5.
Should Melichar and Xu beat Kaitlyn Christian and Giuliana Olmos in the opening round, the second seeds could be ticketed for a meeting with teen sensations Coco Gauff and Catherine McNally. 'Team McCoco,' as they've become known on social media, take on Poland's Magda Linette and Heather Watson in their opener.
Also present in the bottom quarter of the draw is the intriguing pairing of Sofia Kenin and Victoria Azarenka, seeded No.6, who open against the crafty team of Karolina Muchova and Anastasija Sevastova.
The two, who have three Australian Open singles titles between them, are debuting the partnership this week at the Western & Southern Open, and are also entered together in the US Open, where Azarenka reached the final with Ashleigh Barty in 2019.
🔸 Victoria Azarenka & @SofiaKenin— US Open Tennis (@usopen) August 19, 2020
🔹 @Clijsterskim & Hailey Baptiste
🔸 @rohanbopanna & Denis Shapovalov
🔹 @RajeevRam & Joe Salisbury
The 2020 #USOpen doubles competition is going to be 🔥🔥 https://t.co/XJ1E2LkEp1 pic.twitter.com/omh0RZLRXA
Rouding out the bottom half are No.4 seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Zhang Shuai, and No.5 seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara, who triumphed together at the St. Petersburg Ladies' Trophy in January.
Unseeded in this section is world No.3 Kristina Mladenovic, who partnered Timea Babos to win the Australian Open, but is competing here with Ajla Tomljanovic. The French-Australian pairing takes on the American wildcards Jessica Pegula and Shelby Rogers in the first round.
Also playing with a new partner is world No.9 Katerina Siniakova, seeded No.7 alongside Anna-Lena Friedsam. The two, along with No.3 seeds Kveta Peschke and Demi Schuurs and recent Lexington champions Hayley Carter and Luisa Stefani, feature in the second quarter in the top half of the draw.
Click here to view the full doubles draw at the Western & Southern Open.