Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo continue to climb up the doubles rankings as they ended the 2015 season in the third spot. They are one of just a handful of doubles teams that has played regularly together for the last few years. During a time where many partners have been swapped back and forth in an effort to chase down the Bryan Brothers, Dodig-Melo have remained together. The results have shown on the court with a couple of key titles won in 2015.
Both Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo did play parts of the season with other partners. Dodig was a paltry 3-4 without Melo by his side. Melo fared much better with other doubles partners as he went 19-5. Together, the Dodig-Melo team went 35-12 in 2015 over the course of the 14 tournaments they played in together. Dodig-Melo won three titles together with the last one coming at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris. They ended the season as the third ranked doubles team behind Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau who finished in the top spot and the Bryan Brothers who completed 2015 as the second ranked doubles duo. Their number three finish was four spots better than where the partners ended 2014, ranked 7th in the world.
Three of the four Grand Slams were very strong for Dodig-Melo with a French Open men’s doubles title as the pinnacle of their season. Dodig-Melo beat then-top ranked Mike and Bob Bryan in three sets to claim that title. The Australian Open helped get their season off to a good start with a semifinal showing where they lost to eventual runners-u[ Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert in a third set tie break. They made the Wimbledon quarterfinals during the summer, but were upset by the unseeded tandem of Phillipp Petzschner and Jonathan Erlich 6-4, 2-6, 2-6, 4-6. Wimbledon did however mark the fourth straight Slam where Dodig-Melo made the quarterfinals or better. A title at the last Masters event of the year in Paris was a nice finish to the regular season as Dodig-Melo beat Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock 10-5 in the super tiebreak for the victory.
There is no doubt that the crowning achievement of the season for this duo was winning the men’s doubles title at Roland Garros. It was the first Grand Slam title for either player. Dodig-Melo had previously made one other Grand Slam final back in 2013 at Wimbledon where they lost to the Bryans in four sets. At this year’s French Open, Dodig-Melo entered the tournament as the third seeds with little momentum from the three Masters 1000 events they played at during the spring build-up to the year’s second Grand Slam. They would knock off three seeds en route to the title as they beat 8th seeds Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares in the quarterfinals and 5th seeds Rojer-Tecau in the semifinals. That set them up against the top seeded Bryan Brothers in the final. Dodig-Melo would prevail 6-7 (6), 7-6 (5), 7-5.
The U.S. Open was the scene of the most disappointing moment for Dodig-Melo. The duo had made back-to-back semifinal appearances in Flushing Meadows in 2013 and 2014, so they expected another deep run. They ran into a tough opening round match-up though against Dominic Inglot and Robert Lindstedt. The two veterans had only been paired up together in three tournaments prior to the U.S. Open, but had won the Winston-Salem Open the week before to gain confidence. Their form carried over from that tournament as they ousted Dodig-Melo in the first round 7-6 (3), 5-7, 6-4. It was a difficult match for both teams with just one break of serve for either side. The only break against Dodig-Melo would come in the final game of the match to hand Inglot-Lindstedt the win.
The first round loss at the U.S. Open was one of the lower moments for this team, but the roughest stretch came during the Masters 1000 swing prior to the French Open. Dodig-Melo played Monte Carlo, Madrid and Rome with just a 3-3 mark. Perhaps the lowest moment of that stretch came in Rome when they lost to a one-time pairing of Jack Sock and Nick Kyrgios in the Rome quarterfinals 6-1, 5-7, 7-10. The Euro clay swing had never been a great one for the pair since they had teamed up, but they had made the final in Rome in 2014. Losing to a newly paired team was a disappointing result to end a rather poor stretch of results for the team.
The French Open title alone garners this team a fairly high grade. Their play in Slams was consistent until the U.S. Open loss and they did advance to the ATP World Tour Finals semifinals for the third straight season. They have shown that on the biggest stages, they show up and compete well with positive results for the most part. Working their way up four spots in the rankings over this time last year is also a solid achievement given the bevy of good doubles teams in the men’s game right now.
2015 also saw Marcelo Melo earn the top ranking as the number one doubles player, the first time in more than three years that Bob or Mike Bryan did not hold that crown. You don’t get to that spot without your partner playing a large role in your success. Dodig-Melo will continue that successful partnership in 2016 and this duo should definitely again be in the mix among the top four or five doubles teams on the ATP World Tour.