Hunter Reese and Szymon Walków won the 2022 Poznań Open doubles title, defeating Marek Gengel and Adam Pavlasek 1-6 6-3 10-6. Walków became the sixth Pole to achieve a double-digit number of Challenger doubles trophies, after Łukasz Kubot, Mateusz Kowalczyk, Tomasz Bednarek, Mariusz Fyrstenberg, and Marcin Matkowski. He was also the last Pole to win the event, partnering the aforementioned Kowalczyk in the 2018 edition.
Gengel and Pavlasek had a very strong start, going after their rivals’ 2nd serves (especially Reese’s). “Shoot, they were teeing off on my first serves as well. They were putting a lot of pressure on my service game. Yeah, I think what we tried to do is just kinda simplify things. We tried to serve a lot more (at the) body, for me I know I just try to make more first serves, cause that builds my own confidence. I would say that made a big difference. For me, all my double faults I was hitting into the net, into the net, into the net. As the match went on I just really focused on going up after my serve and really swinging up.” said the American about what measure he took to counteract that.
First-time partnership shining under more spotlight than usual
Reese and Walków partnered for the first time this week, but as prominent figures on the Challenger doubles scene, they were familiar with each other for a long time. “I’ve known him forever. We’ve talked here and there but we never had a week where it worked out, where we both didn’t have partners. I was talking to him at Roland Garros last week and I was looking, he was waiting to see, so (it was) just last-minute and it worked out. He was kinda at the top of my list of guys I really wanted to play with.”
During the trophy ceremony, Reese mentioned how rare it is to play all four matches in the event on Centre Court. This happened in Poznań only due to the tournament organizers wanting to showcase his partner, one of Poland’s best doubles players. Asked about the place of doubles in tennis as a whole, Reese replied: “Man, how long do you have? The biggest disconnect I see is the vast majority of recreational tennis is doubles. Almost everybody that just plays for fun, comes out and they play doubles. But you don’t see that portrayed in how tennis is covered in the media. (…) We’ve got work to do in just about every level of the game. From the way the players view it, to the way the tournament organizers view it, to the way sponsors view it. There’s a lot of work to be done.”
Main photo from Paweł Rychter/Poznań Open 2022