Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova continue their reign as the world’s premier doubles team after capturing their first ever Australian Open women’s doubles title.
The top-seeded Czechs held off the inspired pairing of Anna Danilina and Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-7(3) 6-4 6-4 in a two-hour, 42-minute tussle at Rod Laver Arena on Sunday.
MORE: Women's doubles results AO 22
The victory delivered them a fourth Grand Slam women’s doubles title and, like women’s singles champion Ash Barty, they now own major titles on all three surfaces.
They previously won the 2018 Roland Garros and Wimbledon titles, and a second Roland Garros trophy last year – the same tournament at which Krejcikova broke through for the singles title.
They also erased the disappointment of losing last year’s AO final to Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka.
“It's amazing. It's really nice. And after playing last year the final, we are so happy that we have the title. It was really big fight, and we needed to push hard,” Siniakova said.
Added Krejcikova: “After so many tries that we tried here, we finish couple times in semis, last year we finish in finals, so just to get again like all the way to the finals and finally making it, it's perfect.
“It's a huge, I would say, relief. We just extremely happy that it's finally our trophy (smiling).”
Although Krejcikova and Siniakova were the favourites in Sunday’s finale, they were facing a duo who had never lost a match together.
Kazakhstan’s Danilina and Haddad Maia of Brazil paired up for the first time this season and promptly won their very first tournament at the Sydney Tennis Classic.
They carried that form to Melbourne Park, winning a succession of three-set thrillers – including over No.2 seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara in the semifinals – to take a nine-match winning streak into the final.
When they went on to win the first set in a tiebreak, it marked the first set the Czechs had lost all tournament.
But Krejcikova and Siniakova rebounded in the second set, breaking immediately before holding for a 2-0 lead, and maintained their advantage to send the match to a third.
They looked to be cruising to victory when they forged ahead 5-2 in the decider, but Danilina and Haddad Maia began pegging them back, loudly urging themselves on with every point won as they sensed the Czechs tightening.
Krejcikova was tasked with serving out the match in the Czech pairing's second attempt.
In a tense final game, the top seeds eventually won championship point when Krejickova produced an array of altitudinous moonballs – the last of which flummoxed Danilina and bounced just inside the baseline for a clean winner.
“If this is the way how you have to win the match point, I mean, you just gotta go and you have just gotta play it,” Krejickova said.
“I can say that this was pretty much my game when I was like under 12, because we had the tournaments back home, and the girls, they were quite small, because, yeah, we were young.
“There have been like courts that they didn't really have that much space, there was the fence like three meters behind the baseline. So playing all the balls, like all these loops when they bounce, they were just coming over the fence.
“I was kind of good in it, and then, I mean, I had to change and play a different game. But I'm still happy that I still have it in me, and you see like balls like this are winning the trophy.
“It's really important to know everything.”