Melbourne | Krejcikova & Siniakova successfully defend their AO title

The Czech pairing of Barbora Krejcikova & Katerina Siniakova successfully defended their ladies doubles title at the Australian Open on Sunday, when they beat Japan’s Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara for their 7th major win together, and extending their Grand Slam winning streak to 24 matches.

I'm really happy we're playing our tenth year together. 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. Barbora Krejcikova

It took them 89 minutes to record their 6-4 6-3 win over the No 10 seeds, and they have now won last year’s Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open doubles titles, in addition to their Tokyo Olympic gold medals in 2021.

In fact, the Czechs have not lost a Grand Slam women’s doubles match since 2021.

“It was a pleasure to be on this court against you,” 26-year-old Siniakova said to their Japanese opponents. “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.”

Aoyama & Shibahara were appearing in their 10th final together, but their first at a Grand Slam tournament, although Shibahara won the mixed doubles title at Roland Garros last year.

The Japanese could not fend off the top seeds, though, who broke serve once in each set to land the silverware on Rod Laver Arena on Sunday.

Despite the loss, the 10th seeds have improved their showing here over the last 3 years in Melbourne, after a quarter-final appearance in 2021 and a semi-final finish in 2022.

In reaching the final, they became the 3rd and 4th Japanese players to do so, but also became the latest team to fall to the currently unstoppable force that is Krejcikova & Siniakova, who fired 26 winners to their opponents’ 12, and converted 4 of their 6 break points.

Judy Dalton (L) presented the doubles trophy to Barbora Krejcikova & Katerina Siniakova on Sunday

© Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The Czechs kicked off the match by grabbing the only service break of the first set in the opening game.

Krejcikova faced 2 break points on her serve in the fnext but, thanks to her forehand and Siniakova’s volleys, the No 1 seeds held for 2-0, and they were not threatened on serve again for the rest of the set.

They maintained their focus to break in the opening game of the second, but the Japanese successfully snared back the advantage in the 4th game, as Siniakova ripped a cross-court backhand into the net.

In the 7th game, the top seeds created a trio of break opportunities, and Krejcikova captured the first by smacking a forehand down the line, contributing to her team’s overall 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.

The Czechs are the first team to defend the AO doubles title since Italy’s Sara Errani & Roberta Vinci went back-to-back in 2013 and 2014.

“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,” continued 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 Czech pair, who have 14 titles to their credit on the WTA Tour, first teamed up as juniors in 2013, winning 3 of the 4 girls’ doubles titles that year.

“I’m already looking forward to next year,” the 27-year old added.

The dominant pair, who withdrew from Roland Garros 2022 after Krejcikova tested positive for Covid, are on an incredible 24-match winning streak at the majors and, 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 during the trophy ceremony. “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, saying: “I couldn’t win today, but thank you so much for bringing me here [to] the final.”

Aoyama & Shibahara were the first Japanese women to reach an AO women’s doubles final since Naoko Sato in 1978 and Ai Sugiyama in 2009.

Doubles champions Barbora Krejcikova (L) & Katerina Siniakova pose with runners-up Japan's Shuko Aoyama (R) & Ena Shibahara (2nd R) after their women's doubles final at the Australian Open

© Manan Vatsyayana/AFP via Getty Images



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