Women's doubles final
The Czech mates have made it two in a row.
Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova are the Australian Open 2023 women's doubles champions, after posting a thrilling 6-4 6-3 victory over Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara on Sunday to clinch their seventh Grand Slam title together.
The top seeds needed one hour and 29 minutes to seal the win on Rod Laver Arena, which earned them bragging rights as the first team to defend an AO women's doubles title since Italy's Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci achieved the feat in 2014.
The Czech duo broke in the opening game of their first career meeting with the Japanese team, consolidating as Krejcikova saved two break points. Fast hands and reflex volleys from Krejcikova and Siniakova enabled them to dictate play and close out the set without drama.
The accomplished Czech pairing maintained their focus to break in the opening game of the second set, but the Japanese tenth seeds successfully snared back the advantage in the fourth game, as Siniakova ripped a cross-court backhand into the net.
In the seventh game, the ever-assertive top seeds created a trio of break opportunities. Krejcikova captured the first – smacking a forehand down the line to secure the break, contributing to her team's tally of 33 winners.
As Shibahara dumped a backhand into the net on championship point, the euphoric top seeds celebrated with fist pumps and a hug.
"It was a pleasure to be on this court against you," 26-year-old Siniakova said to her Japanese rivals. "Big thanks to my partner, Bara, I'm so happy we did it again. It was nice journey and I'm looking forward to [the] next tournaments."
"We all … really appreciate what you did for us, for the next generation," Krejcikova said, thanking Original 9 member Judy Dalton, who presented the women's doubles trophy.
"I'm really happy we're playing our tenth year together," said Krejcikova, crediting her long-time partner, Siniakova.
"It's been a very long journey and I'm really happy [with] how we are playing and how we can improve, the connection is working well and I'm really looking forward for more."
The duo, who own 14 titles together on the women's tour, first teamed up as juniors in 2013, winning three of the four girls' doubles titles that year.
"I'm already looking forward to next year," Krejcikova, 27, said.
The dominant pairing, who withdrew from Roland Garros 2022 after Krejcikova tested positive for Covid, are on an incredible 24-match winning streak at majors. As the reigning Wimbledon and US Open champions, they could complete a non-calendar Grand Slam in Paris later this year.
"Congratulations to you guys, seven Grand Slam titles is an amazing achievement and we really tried our best but you guys were just too solid," Shibahara said to her Czech conquerors.
"We're just really proud of how we did this week, hopefully next time we can get the title.
"It's been a dream these past two weeks, I've always dreamt of getting to the finals. Of course I really wanted to really get this title but I know our future is bright."
An emotional Aoyama broke down in tears as she thanked her coaching team.
"I couldn’t win today, but thank you so much for bringing me here [to] the final," she said.
By reaching their first Grand Slam final, Aoyama and Shibahara became only the third and fourth Japanese women to reach an AO women's doubles final since Naoko Sato in 1978 and Ai Sugiyama in 2009.