MELBOURNE, Australia - Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza added another major title to their collection on Friday, defeating Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, 7-6(1), 6-3, in the Australian Open final.
Dubbed 'Santina' by their legion of fans, Hingis and Mirza have been relentless en route to yet another major trophy, dropping a solitary set throughout the fortnight. The co-No.1s are now the holders of three of the four Grand Slams, having triumphed at Wimbledon then the US Open last summer.
They are also in possession of a 36-match winning streak, a run stretching back to August 2015.
Hlavackova and Hradecka were worthy foes in the final, briefly threatening this sequence, particularly during an absorbing first set. Appearing in their fifth major final, Hlavackova and Hradecka broke four times and served for the set at 5-4.
But after being on the back foot for much of opening hour, the top seeds' class shone through when it mattered most. A thumping Mirza forehand winner and a Hingis volley which kissed the outside of the line established an early lead which they never looked like surrendering.
To compound the Czechs' disappointment, they suffered a further setback at the start of the second set, Hlavackova sending a backhand drifting long to hand over an immediate break. A second soon followed, and despite reducing their arrears to 4-2 the No.7 seeds were merely delaying the inevitable.
A delicate lob from Mirza followed by a magnificent angled volley from Hingis brought the finishing line into view. Hlavackova and Hradecka battled valiantly, fending off three championship points before Mirza's faithful forehand breached their defenses for a final time.
"When I saw that ball like floating, going out, I was like very relieved," Hingis said. "We kind of feel like we can dig it out. Even we don't always play the best tennis, we find a way, like especially in the tiebreaker. That's when it really counted.
"Some games were going on, back and forth. She had a down, I had a down. But we're always there for each other. We really trust each other's skills when it really counts. I think that was really the difference today."
Hingis, who has now tasted doubles success at Melbourne Park five times - and with four different partners - was also quick to pay tribute to their opponents.
"We were pushed to the limit today, especially in the first set," Hingis said. "It was break, break, break, break. But you girls have the best returns in women's doubles!"
"I lost a Grand Slam final to you guys, so I knew it would be tough. I'd like to congratulate you on a great two weeks and I'm sure we will face each other again soon," Mirza said.
Worryingly for the other teams on tour, Hingis and Mirza, who unsurprisingly top the nascent Road To Singapore leaderboard, have no plans to rest on their laurels.
"I think we still have room for improvement. That's what we did. Our relationship also got stronger." Hingis added. "But I think [Sania] definitely sets me up. She's one of the hardest-hitting players out there. Like her groundstrokes, her return is really amazing, and her forehand is, if not the best in the world - okay, maybe Serena can hit it as hard."