Pickering, Ont’s Adil Shamasdin plays his third career ATP Tour doubles final Saturday in Casablanca. Butts up.
Paired with Australia’s Rameez Junaid, the unseeded duo will be up against it. They face the top seeds, the new partnership of Rohan Bopanna (who played with Shamasdin’s countryman Daniel Nestor until this week) and Florin Mergea of Romania (who played with Great Britain’s Dominic Inglot until this week).
The match is scheduled to be on TennisTV, if you want to watch.
But they’ve had a great run. The pair had already reached two ATP-level semis this year, in Marseille and Montpellier, but this is their first final together. It’s the third of Shamasdin’s career, his first in nearly four years, and he’s in quest of his second career title.
Shamasdin told Open Court during Davis Cup that he and Junaid gelled well together, and that they were looking for more opportunities to play during the clay-court season and tried to sync their schedules. But the Aussie skipped the Indian Wells-Miami tour – most doubles guys of his ranking would do the same – especially in the desert, where the influx of singles players into the larger doubles draw makes it almost impossible to get in.
Shamasdin was set to play with Milos Raonic there. But even with Raonic’s high singles ranking, which he can use to enter the doubles, it wasn’t good enough; they were still several teams out. You had guys like Gilles Simon and Adrian Mannarino (combined doubles ranking of about 1400 but with good singles rankings) getting in ahead of them.
Raonic ended up making it with Pakistan’s Aisam Qureshi, who was there without a partner.
Shamasdin made the trip down from Vancouver anyway, because you can’t really know if you’re off the bubble or not until the on-site sign in. With some time on his hands, he played some fun dubs with the immortal Dustin (Dreddy) Brown, against Johan Brunstrom (Open Court’s new mixed dubs partner – KIDDING!) and Nick Monroe.
Here’s what some of it looked like. Watch the end; it’s classic.
Little moments like this are what make being at tournament and roaming the grounds fun for fans. The people watching really enjoyed it, even if most of them probably didn’t have much of a clue who the players were. The players were loose and making shots and were just like a bunch of guys who got together for some afternoon dubs except, you know, there were people watching and they’re really, REALLY good at it.
Oh, and there was no beer.
Shamasdin made a few other pit stops after Indian Wells on his trans-world chase for points. This is his first clay-court event after reaching the final of a Challenger in Raanana, Israel with Junaid the previous week. His accountant will appreciate it, too.
After that, it becomes a bit of a challenge for this mid-range pair. Shamasdin (currently No. 62) and Junaid (No. 77) don’t have a prayer of getting into Monte Carlo; he MIGHT have had a shot with Raonic, but Raonic is already signed up with Ernests Gulbis.
They MIGHT have a shot in Barcelona or Bucharest, but they’re still a few teams out. They might have to hit the Challengers again to keep the mojo going.
Shamasdin will likely be around his career high of No. 58 if he and Junaid don’t take the title. If they do, he’ll be a few spots higher and at a career best.
Here are a few more pics of the Dredded one and the Canuck. Those are two shot-making crowd-pleasers, right there. With elastic joints. The two have paired up a few times in Challengers in the past; it would be fun to see them do it again – for real.