Wimbledon | Strycova & Hsieh take women’s doubles title
After the spine-tingling drama of the earlier men’s singles final, the longest in the tournament’s history, Barbora Strycova ended her Wimbledon adventure in style with the World No 1 doubles ranking and a first Grand Slam doubles title alongside partner Su-Wei Hsieh.
I felt like this tournament, especially Wimbledon, from the first moment we stepped on the court together, we just laughed and we just enjoyed. Barbora Strycoca
After appearing in her maiden Grand Slam singles semi-final on Thursday, Strycova and her Chinese Taipei partner, Hsieh, combined to beat Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski and China’s Yifan Xu, 6-2 6-4, in their held-over final on Centre Court.
The pair eventually got on court to bring the curtain down on the fortnight with a straightforward victory, becoming the first team to lift the doubles crown at Wimbledon without dropping a set since Serena and Venus Williams in 2009.
“Oh my God, there is no word to describe the feeling,” said a beaming Strycova, who lost to Serena Williams in the women’s singles semi-finals.
“I felt like this tournament, especially Wimbledon, from the first moment we stepped on the court together, we just laughed and we just enjoyed,” the Czech added.
“We kept it through the whole tournament. I think that was the biggest key (to the fact) we were playing the way we played.
“We are very different, but both of us handle stress differently.
“She [Hsieh] is really calm person and I’m very emotional. But I keep [trying] to enjoy it with a smile. That helps me also to relax on the court.”
Strycova, 33, had also become the oldest Wimbledon singles semi-final debutant when she lost to Serena on Thursday.
The No 3 seeds, both 33, made it back-to-back titles after claiming the doubles trophy in Birmingham on the eve of the Championships.
Their first Grand Slam success as a pair and their 5th trophy overall ensures Strycova will move to the top of the WTA doubles rankings on Monday for the first time in her career.
She will be the 43rd doubles No 1 and the 7th from the Czech Republic to achieve the feat.
Hsieh celebrated her 3rd Grand Slam doubles title after winning Wimbledon in 2013 and Roland-Garros a year later alongside China’s Shuai Peng.
After splitting the initial 4 games, Strycova & Hsieh, who put out the top seeds Timea Babos & Kristina Mladenovic in the semi-finals, rattled through the remainder of the first set.
They wrapped up a quick-fire opener when Hsieh buried a short overhead with only 25 minutes on the clock.
The two teams traded breaks to begin the second set, before Strycova & Hsieh changed gear once more.
Full of intelligent angles, effective returning and some razor-sharp reflexes, they broke Xu in the third game when, this time, it was Strycova who was too strong over head.
Dabrowski & Xu kept fighting and almost got back on level terms in the 6th game, putting the Hsieh serve came under extreme pressure, but she held on for a 4-2 lead.
The champions-in-waiting held their nerve over the final stages and sealed the victory on their second match point to make the Wimbledon title their fourth of the season.
When asked about her summit to the top of the rankings, Strycova was quick to pay tribute to her partner.
“I can’t thank her enough to help me pick up No 1. It feels, again, unreal. It’s amazing,” she said.
“It was my goal at the beginning of this year, that I want to become No 1. It was really big goal. It happens right now, especially here at this moment, this tournament, my favourite place.
“Yes, it’s a fairytale. It has been two weeks of amazing moments. I will never forget.”
It was great day for Taiwanese players with Latisha Chan teaming up with Croatian Ivan Dodig to win the mixed doubles, beating Latvian Jelena Ostapenko and 42-year-old Swede Robert Lindstedt, 6-2 6-3, in the final.
In fact, Taiwan scored the most title wins of any country in the top 5 events at the tournament.
Chan & Dodig took a blistering 5-0 lead in the first 20 minutes, only allowing their opponents 2 games in the first set.
A break in the 8th game of the second set, as they led 5-3, was all the pair needed to seal the win for the match.
This is Chan’s first Grand Slam win at Wimbledon and her 4th overall, with 2 mixed doubles wins at the French Open and a women’s doubles title at the US Open.