Top seeds Barbora Krejcikova & Katerina Siniakova swept past Hsieh Su-wei & Elise Mertens, 6-3 6-4, to lift their first Akron WTA Finals doubles championship, ending the week in Guadalajara, Mexico, undefeated in the 5 matches they have played.
This week was really good for us. I think we needed to stay aggressive, and we did it. We were really playing well. We keep the team spirit, so we were just trying, we fight. I'm just really happy that we have the trophy. Katerina Siniakova
It is a fitting climax to a remarkable year for the Czech pair, who also won the doubles titles at Roland Garros and the Tokyo Olympics numbering among the 5 tournaments they have won this season.
The win, after an hour 18 minutes on Wednesday night, also clinches the year-end WTA Doubles World No 1 ranking for Siniakova, who replaces Hsieh at the top when the next rankings are released.
Interestingly, all 4 of the players who competed in the final have held the WTA Doubles World No 1 ranking during their careers, and it showed in the quality of play they produced on Wednesday night, as Krejcikova & Siniakova went one better than their previous best result at the WTA Finals in their debut appearance in 2018, when they finished as runners-up to Timea Babos & Kristina Mladenovic.
The top seeds were 3-0 in the round-robin stage of the competition, then edged No 4 seeds Nicole Melichar-Martinez & Demi Schuurs in the semi-finals, before their straight-set win over Hsieh & Mertens in the final.
“I think it was a really good day for us,” Krejcikova said, in their post-match press interview. “I think we did everything the best way we could.
“I was really happy that our game style was working and that everything we said was working. I just think that we were a really good team out there today.
“It’s very, very special to get the trophy from Martina [Navratilova], who we look up to.
“She is a really big hero for us. The whole day was just amazing. I really enjoyed it. Yeah, now holidays!”
Her partner, Siniakova added: “This week was really good for us. I think we needed to stay aggressive, and we did it.
“We were really playing well. We keep the team spirit, so we were just trying, we fight. I’m just really happy that we have the trophy.”
Krejcikova & Siniakova dropped just 4 games when they defeated Hsieh & Mertens in the group phase, while the rematch was a closer affair, but the Czechs still prevailed, saving 5 of the 6 break points they faced.
The top seeds were dominant returning second serves, winning 65 percent of those points, which helped them convert 3 of the 10 break points they held.
Three of the first 6 games went to a deciding point in the no-ad contest, but the teams stayed on serve until Mertens dropped hers at 3-2.
The Czechs handed the break back in the following game, but eased ahead 5-3 again after a strong Siniakova return set up a drop-volley winner by Krejcikova, and then, in the next, Siniakova slammed an overhead winner to convert set point.
The Czechs took the early lead in the second as well, Siniakova using beautiful backhands to grab a quick break in the opening game.
They held onto the advantage through to 5-4, when a Siniakova volley saved a break point, queuing up their second championship point, and an error-forcing drop-volley by Siniakova sealed the deal as the No 1 seeds triumphed.