Thank god, Bjorkman and Mirnyi. It's about time they started playing the doubles they are capable of playing, and last week Team Bjorkman-Mirnyi took home the doubles title in Stockholm. The duo did not lose a set the entire tournament and posted a very impressive win over Clement and Llodra in the final, 6-4, 6-4. Bjorkman and Mirnyi are still 10th in the doubles race for the Masters Cup in Shanghai, but this win keeps them in contention and if they can follow it up with a huge performance in Madrid, they'll be right in the thick of things.
Meanwhile, we have some interesting doubles pairings going on in Madrid. In fact two enticing matches already took place on the first day of the proceedings. Sizzling David Ferrer is teaming with fellow baseliner Nicolas Almagro and the Spaniards stunned Erlich and Ram today in the first round. Don't ask me how; I guess they must have just been pounding away from the baseline and refusing to give Erlich and Ram many good looks up at net. And of course Ferrer's return always makes life touch on the server, probably to an even greater extent in doubles.
How about this matchup for some fun tennis: Canas and Nalbandian vs. Kuerten and Moya. I can't speak for the quality of doubles that went on, but it surely entertained the fans. The Argentine tandem prevailed 6-3, 4-6, 12-10 in the super-tiebreak.
Nadal was supposed to team with Hewitt, but Hewitt is injured so Nadal picked up Feliciano Lopez off the waiver wire and they are taking on Fernando Gonzalez (partnering with Andre Sa) in the first round. Talk about an all-out slugfest! Other intriguing teams include Berdych and Kiefer, Verdasco and Karlovic, and Monaco and Chela. James Blake, meanwhile, is in the draw with partner Eric Butorac. It's pretty awesome to see all these singles players in the doubles tournament, but the fear is that there could be plenty of withdrawals later in the week from guys who are making deep runs in the singles. We'll see.