Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei & Elise Mertens from Belgium won the Ladies Doubles title at Wimbledon with victory over Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova & Elena Vesnina on Saturday, the No seeds taking the thrilling match, 3-6 7-5 9-7, after surviving 2 Championship points in the second set before coming back to triumph.
It was such a tough match. They had match points, I think a couple, so we just kept going. We said to each other, 'Just keep going’. We never gave up. That's the fighting spirit we had today that maybe made with the difference. Of course, there were nerves, but still we managed it well at the end. She's defending champion, champion again. It's unbelievable. Elise Mertens
“That felt like seven hours,” Mertens said after the 2 hour 30 minute battle on a packed Centre Court. “There were nerves, but we managed it well in the end.
“We are very happy that we could close it out.”
Mertens claimed her second Grand Slam title of the year following her doubles success at the Australian Open with Aryna Sabalenka, while it is a 3rd Wimbledon doubles title and 4th Grand Slam win for Hsieh .
“It’s always not easy to play in the final, and the opponents will fight super hard,” Hsieh said after winning the title with a 3rd different partner. “We all know it’s the last match so we will fight until the last point definitely.
“All the partners, they are amazing to help because sometime I get on the court at the beginning, and I [do] not start very well. Really good job to help, so it helps a lot.”
Hsieh won the 2013 title with China’s Peng Shuai and the 2019 trophy alongside Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic.
Kudermetova, 24, and Vesnina, 34, failed to take the two opportunities they had to seal the win when serving for the title at 5-4 in the second set, and their opponents took full advantage as they claimed successive breaks to level the match.
Hsieh, 35, and Mertens, 25, appeared to have completed an impressive turnaround after breaking serve in the 8th game of the deciding set for a 5-3 lead, but they too were unable to serve out the contest and Mertens was broken.
As the decider went on and on, Kudermetova returned the favour when she failed to serve out the victory at 7-6, but Hsieh & Mertens finally prevailed in the gripping contest when the Taiwanese fired a backhand winner.
“It was such a tough match. They had match points, I think a couple, so we just kept going,” Mertens said in the pair’s post-match press conference. “We said to each other, ‘Just keep going’.
“We never gave up. That’s the fighting spirit we had today that maybe made with the difference.
“Of course, there were nerves, but still we managed it well at the end. She’s defending champion, champion again. It’s unbelievable.”
Kudermetova & Vesnina had reached the final by saving 4 match points to defeat Czech top seeds Barbora Krejcikova & Katerina Siniakova and 3 more in the semi-final against American Caroline Dolehide & Storm Sanders from Australia.
Victory ensures Mertens returns to World No 1 in the women’s doubles rankings on Monday.
The Belgian previously won the Australian Open in February with Aryna Sabalenka and now has just a Roland Garros title missing from her boxed set, while Hsieh won Wimbledon in 2013 with Peng Shuai and 2019 with Barbora Strycova.
Winning from match points down makes it all the more sweeter for Hsieh & Mertens who, in 4 of their 5 previous tournaments playing together since May, had held match points but lost.
“It was definitely disappointing that we had some matches that we didn’t finish, couldn’t finish some chances,” Mertens said. “But I think the best thing to do is to learn from it.
“If you keeping negative about it, you’re not going to go any further, you’re not going to go forward, not going to grow as a team.
“It was very important for us to communicate well, to get the energy. Like today, I mean, the others had match point. They didn’t finish it. Now we won. That’s tennis. But you just keep going.”
On court Hsieh said: “Our opponents played amazing today, it was very tough.
“After the first set I was thinking, ‘We’ve got to win some points on the return’. And we did it and Elise did a great job and the opponent was fighting so hard.
“So thanks so much for the cheering, it pushed us to work so hard.
“This is first time to defend my champion.”
“Woo-hoo,” Mertens responded. “We were very happy we could close it because it was just going on and going on, yeah. We were just laughing about it.”
Vesnina was playing at Wimbledon for the first time since she won the doubles title alongside Ekaterina Makarova in 2017.
The Russian made a surprise return to the WTA Tour earlier this season following a 3-year hiatus, during which she had her first child.
Despite her absence, Vesnina proved that making finals is just like riding a bike as the Olympic champion came within one point of winning a 4th Grand Slam doubles crown, in just her 3rd tournament teaming up with Kudermetova, who was contesting her maiden major final.
Their run at these Championships will no doubt give them a boost ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, where Vesnina is signed up to play doubles alongside Vera Zvonareva and Kudermetova is set to team up with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
For Mertens, there will be a dual celebration as she returns to the top of the doubles rankings on Monday, thanks to her exploits in south-west London.
The Belgian heaped praise on Hsieh and her unorthodox playing style, saying: “Some of her volleys, I mean, I can’t do. She’s a magician. As players, we really grew towards each other. She’s a very nice person.”