Miami | Kenin & Mattek-Sands lift WTA 1000 doubles trophy

Americans Sofia Kenin & Bethanie Mattek-Sands stalled a comeback by Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski & Erin Routliffe from New Zealand to win the Miami Open doubles final on Sunday, their second title together.

We’ve played many tournaments together, we’ve always clicked together. Bethanie’s got amazing hands so it’s very easy to do my job at the back, and I’m hoping that it’s easy from Bethanie’s side, to be at the net covering when I’m at the baseline. Sofia Kenin

Accepted late into the draw as Alternates, Kenin & Mattek-Sands lifted the trophy after beating the No 2 seeds, who were the clear favourites for the title, 4-6 7-6(5) [11-9].

The Americans grabbed their late spot in the draw after the withdrawal of Czech Marie Bouzkova & Sara Sorribes Tormo from Spain.

After taking the first set, Dabrowski & Routliffe found themselves 1-5 down in the second, but fought back to force a tiebreak in which they also fell behind 5-1 before a late rally but, ultimately, losing the set.

In the match tiebreak, Kenin & Mattek-Sands turned a 5-0 edge into an 8-4 lead, and although Dabrowski & Routliffe kept plugging away, recovering to level at 9-9, the Americans pulled away to wrap up the win after the 2-hour battle in Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium.

On their way to the final, Kenin & Mattek-Sands had needed a decisive match-tiebreak to prevail in 3 of their 4 matches, and Sunday’s final also had gone down to the wire.

“We went through it all today,” Mattek-Sands said, after the back-and-forth affair. “You really want to be flexible and adaptable, and be grounded in that moment, and I feel, like, that will get you [through] whether you’re up or you’re down.”

Kenin & Mattek-Sands are now 7-1 on tour together this season, adding to their Abu Dhabi title from February, plus the Americans are one of only two teams to have won multiple titles so far this year, along with Australian Open and Indian Wells champions, Taipei’s Hsieh Su-Wei & Elise Mertens from Belgium.

Bethanie Mattek-Sands & Sofia Kenin were Alternates into the doubles draw and won the WTA 1000 title

© Brennan Asplen/Getty Images

Having teamed up on and off over the last few years, Kenin & Mattek-Sands had already tasted success together at WTA 1000 level, with their first appearance as a team resulting in the title at the WTA 1000 in Beijing in 2019.

“We’ve played many tournaments together, we’ve always clicked together,” said Kenin. “Bethanie’s got amazing hands so it’s very easy to do my job at the back, and I’m hoping that it’s easy from Bethanie’s side, to be at the net covering when I’m at the baseline.”

In the final, though, pristine volleying by Dabrowski & Routliffe allowed them to break Kenin in the first game of the match, and they did not drop serve on the way to the one-set lead.

Kenin & Mattek-Sands built a 5-1 lead in the second set, with Kenin’s lob a particularly solid weapon, but 4th set point with a deft forehand winner by Mattek-Sands.

Again, Kenin & Mattek-Sands found themselves in a match-tiebreak, and they used overpowering returns to reach triple championship point at 9-6, but Dabrowski & Routliffe battled back once more to level at 9-9.

A Mattek-Sands volley, though, forced a wide error from Routliffe, setting up a 4th championship point at 10-9, and the American pair converted when the Kiwi missed a volley, giving the home team the win.

(L-R) Runners-up Erin Routliffe & Gabriela Dabrowski with doubles champions Sofia Kenin & Bethanie Mattek-Sands posed with their trophies after the final on Sunday

© Elsa/Getty Images

When Kenin & Mattek-Sands had requested a main-draw wild-card, but failed to make the acceptance list, they stayed sharp in practice and came on site every day to sign in as Alternates, an effort that was rewarded when Bouzkova & Sorribes Tormo withdrew to open up a spot.

“I think you have to trust your own instincts in order for luck to happen, to go on your side,” Kenin told WTA Insider after the win.

Mattek-Sands has her own philosophy on luck.

“Obviously we were bummed when we saw the draw and we weren’t in, but, at some point, you got to let that go and be, like, the universe has my back,” Mattek-Sands said. “I’m going to step forward through that, I’m going to go through my same routines and I think that’s more how you create your luck.

“You don’t let the bad luck get to you, and change how you go about your day, change how you think about yourself and change what you think about the world around you. And if you can, sort of, keep that, you’ll have all the luck in the world.”

After knocking out top seeds Hsieh & Mertens in the quarter-finals, their tournament nearly ended in a retirement just 3 games into their semi-final clash against Italians Sara Errani & Jasmine Paolini, when Mattek-Sands made a move for a ball and came up limping.

She struggled to put weight on her left foot for much of the match, but they found a way to win, beating the Italians in another match-tiebreak,.

Mattek-Sands then spent Saturday getting treatment and hoping her body would hold up for one more match.

“I felt very grateful to be playing in a beautiful stadium,” Mattek-Sands said. “It was beautiful day today. I’ve learned to appreciate moving at that pace rather than trying to rush through everything and make it happen. And I think that really has a lot to do with creating your own luck, too.”

This was Mattek-Sands’ 30th WTA doubles title, and her 2nd in Miami, the former WTA Doubles World No 1 having also lifted the trophy here in 2016 alongside her longtime doubles partner Lucie Safarova from Russia.

Kenin landed her 4th WTA doubles title, her first in Miami, and the 2020 Australian Open singles champion is now a perfect 4-0 in doubles finals.



Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By :