The last match of the 2023 Wimbledon Championships saw 37-year olds Hsieh Su-Wei & Barbora Strycova win their second women’s doubles title together, beating Storm Hunter & Elise Mertens7-5 6-4, in the final played under the roof on the Centre Court, on Sunday evening.
It's a great fairy tale because it's my last Wimbledon playing ever, so I couldn't ask for a better finish. I am so, so, so, so happy! Barbora Strycova
Hsieh, who hails from Taiwan, converted their second match point with a backhand as the 2019 champions broke in the final game of the second set.
Strycova came out of retirement this year after the Czech gave birth to a son, and said she expects this to be her last Wimbledon.
“I couldn’t ask for a better finish,” Strycova said. “Last year I texted Su-Wei, ‘Let’s try to play Wimbledon 2023 just to come back and feel the atmosphere. There is no COVID anymore.’ She was like, ‘Yeah, let’s do that. Let’s just have fun’.
“Here we are with the trophy… it’s crazy!”
In a championship final which featured 3 players who have been ranked WTA Doubles World No 1, Hsieh, Strycova and Mertens, Hsieh & Strycova took an hour and 51 minutes to hold off Hunter & Mertens and capture the trophy.
In Sunday’s final, both pairs struggled to hold serve until Hsieh & Strycova got the decisive break to win the opening set, after Australia’s Hunter & Mertens from Belgium had come back from 0-40 and triple set point down at 5-4 in the opening frame, with Mertens using sturdy serves to rebound and hold on for 5-5.
Another long game at 6-5 went Hsieh & Strycova’s way, though, as they converted their 6th set point to eke out the one-set lead after Hunter slapped a forehand into the net.
Breaks were exchanged early in the second, before Hsieh and Strycova went ahead, only for them to then let a 4-1 lead slide back to 4-4.
Powerful overheads by Strycova at 5-4 gave her team 2 match points, and, at their second chance, they broke for a second time, with Hsieh hitting a superb cross-court winner to capture the doubles honours.
Hsieh & Strycova finished the tournament with the loss of just one set in their 6 wins, while their combined ages make them the oldest women’s doubles pair to reach a Grand Slam final, let alone win one, breaking a mark set by Liezel Huber & Lisa Raymond, who were 35 and 38, respectively, when they won the US Open in 2021.
With Strycova set to retire after this year’s U.S. Open, Hsieh, made sure her partner got the perfect send-off from Wimbledon.
“It’s a great fairy tale because it’s my last Wimbledon playing ever, so I couldn’t ask for a better finish,” said Strycova, who along with her two doubles titles, also posted her career-best Grand Slam singles result at Wimbledon when she reached the 2019 semi-finals. “I am so, so, so, so happy!”
This is also a second straight Grand Slam title for Hsieh, who teamed up with Wang Xinyu of China to win the French Open doubles tournament in June.
Both Hsieh and Strycova returned to Hologic WTA Tour action this April after lengthy absences, with the Czech off the tour for over two years, which included giving birth to son Vincent in the autumn of 2021, while the Taiwanese missed the whole of the 2022 season as well.
Just 3 months after their return, the long-time doubles partners and friends have now become Wimbledon champions once again.
“It’s crazy,” Strycova said in the champions’ post-match press conference. “Actually, I don’t believe it still, but it’s real, right? It was a dream of mine.”
“Not expecting [the title], but nothing could be better than this,” Hsieh added. “I didn’t expect too much [coming back], I think that helps a lot.
“I like to use the freedom on court. I’m, like, a freestyle player. I set my plan very clear, clean. I do it. I enjoy. All the different plans, I try to work out plans to where I go, where they go. Really works well.”
Hsieh has collected 6 Grand Slam women’s doubles titles in her career, with 4 of them coming at Wimbledon, having also won alongside Mertens in 2021 and Peng Shuai of China in 2013, with whom she also won 2014 Roland Garros.
Mertens was looking for her 4th Grand Slam title overall, while Hunter was trying to win her first.