The 2022 Western & Southern Open will have some interesting women’s doubles pairings as reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu will play alongside Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina.
Raducanu only made her top-level women’s doubles debut at the Citi Open in Washington DC a fortnight ago, partnering fellow young gun Clara Tauson as they went down against third seeds Monica Niculescu and Lucie Hradecka in the opening round.
The singles world No 13 will have a new partner this week as she will play alongside with Rybakina.
Kazakh Rybakina won her maiden Grand Slam at Wimbledon in July as she beat Ons Jabeur in three sets in the final, but she has struggled for form in singles since then.
The world No 25 lost her opening match at the Silicon Valley Classic before losing her second-round encounter against Coco Gauff at the Canadian Open last week.
Whereas Raducanu will be playing in only her second WTA doubles tournament, Rybakina does have some experience as she has a runners-up trophy from the 2021 Indian Wells Open and also reached the semi-final of the Canadian Open last year.
The Raducanu-Rybakina team will face Lucie Hradecka and Sania Mirza in the opening round and if they come through that clash then they could take on seventh seeds Jelena Ostapenko and Lyudmyla Kichenok in round two.
Both will also feature in the singles with Raducanu set for an enticing clash against 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams in the first round while Rybakina will take on Mayar Sherif.
British No 1 Raducanu has shrugged off concerns over her form ahead of the WTA 1000 event in Cincinnati.
“Expectations, I don’t really know, I don’t really care,” she said. I just want to go out there and, one, enjoy the match that I’m going to play whenever I do play it. It’s a great gift to play the best on her way out from the sport. So I’m just looking forward to that.”
Jabeur and Victoria Azarenka are another interesting partnership will face Shuko Aoyama and Chan Hao-ching in their opener with second seeds Barbora Krecikova and Katerina Siniakova also in their section.
Veronika Kudermetova and Elese Mertens are the top seeds and they have a bye into the second round while newly-crowned women’s doubles No 1 Coco Gauff and partner Jessica Pegula are seeded third.
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