Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski completed an ATP Masters 1000 hat-trick for 2022 on Sunday with victory at the Rolex Paris Masters, where the Dutch-British pairing held off the in-form Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek in the championship match.
Dodig and Krajicek were playing in their fourth ATP Tour final in as many weeks in France, but second seeds Koolhof and Skupski were clinical in securing a 7-6(5), 6-4 victory. It was a third Masters 1000 crown for the team following its triumphs in Madrid and Montreal, and it has now won seven tour-level titles since coming together at the start of the 2022 season. Sunday’s win also confirmed Koolhof and Skupski as the year-end No. 1 team in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Teams Rankings.
“[It means] a lot, obviously,” said Koolhof after he and Skupski confirmed their status as year-end No. 1. “It was one of the goals we set for this year. I think we reached all the goals we set in January, so it means the world to us. I think we’ve been playing great tennis from the start in Australia and managed to keep it going until here. We have one more week to go, so let’s continue this run in Turin.”
Despite letting slip a 4-1 lead early in France, Koolhof and Skupski held firm to take the opening set in a tie-break. A break in the third game of the second was enough for the second seeds to seal the title as they wrapped a clinical 93-minute victory in which they converted two of three break point opportunities.
“It’s been great with Wes from day one, really, in Australia,” said Skupski. “We just keep growing, we had a few setbacks here and there, but we bounced straight back. We both work hard and we get along very well off the court. I think that’s one of the keys to gel on the court. If we keep putting the work in, things seem to be paying off, and hopefully we can keep going in Turin.”
The title in Paris gives Koolhof a second reason to celebrate this weekend. His and Skupski’s semi-final win against Rohan Bopanna and Matwe Middelkoop confirmed that the Dutchman will rise to No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Rankings for the first time on Monday. His partner Skupski is set to rise to a career-high No. 2.
Koolhof and Skupski will next head to Turin as they seek to end their stellar year on a high at the Nitto ATP Finals, where they will compete as the top seeds. Dodig and Krajicek’s exploits over the past month, during which they reached the final in Florence before winning titles in Naples and Basel, has also earned the Croatian-American duo a spot at the prestigious season finale.