Hsieh Su-Wei and Peng Shuai have plenty in common, for instance both are right-handed but play two-handed off both sides, and they were born just four days apart. And though they go back a long ways, they didn't pair up early in their professional careers.
"We met in an ITF team when we were like 13, 14," Peng said. "We were juniors at the time, playing a few tournaments together, and that's how we started out. But after we turned pro, we had like seven years where we didn't play any doubles together."
However, once Hsieh and Peng did team up, success was immediate. They won their first two WTA events at Bali in 2008 and Sydney in 2009. They secured two more titles that year, then after a few years of playing on and off together became a regular combination again in 2013. They attracted attention when they won their fifth title in Rome, besting doubles World No.1s Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci in the final.
Nevertheless, few would have expected Hsieh and Peng to take the title at Wimbledon, which is just what they did a couple of months later - losing just one set along the way and topping Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua in the championship match.
That also made Hsieh the first player from Chinese Taipei to win a Grand Slam title of any kind and Peng the fifth Chinese player to win a Grand Slam title of any kind.Later in the season, Hsieh and Peng were victorious in Cincinnati, Guangzhou and the season-ending TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships - Istanbul.
En route to their first WTA title of 2014 in Doha, Peng clinched a rise to World No.1 in doubles, making her the first Chinese player to become No.1 in singles or doubles in rankings history. Also, Hsieh rose to No.2, the highest a player from Chinese Taipei has ever ranked in singles or doubles.
"We're the No.1 team, and people may know us more now, but we still feel the same as before," Peng said. "All of this is nice because it helps us become more confident and believe in ourselves more on the court, and we're more motivated now too, but nothing has changed. We're still the same people."
Later in the season, Hsieh and Peng improved to 11-0 in WTA finals with a triumph in Indian Wells.
"We've known each other a very long time," Hsieh said. "Sometimes we don't practice together - like at Wimbledon we never practiced together - but every time we go on court together, we try every point. If she misses a shot, I give her support. When I miss, she supports me. It's very important in doubles. When we get into a final, we don't think, we just try every point. This is the key for us."
2014 Record: 10-3
Career Record: 83-28
Career Record On Hard: 62-23
Career Record On Clay: 15-4
Career Record On Grass: 6-1
Career Grand Slam Record: 24-10
WON (2): Doha, Indian Wells
WON (11): 2014 - Doha, Indian Wells; 2013 - Rome, Wimbledon, Cincinnati, Guangzhou, WTA Championships; 2009 - Sydney, Rome, Beijing; 2008 - Bali
HSIEH'S INDIVIDUAL DOUBLES STATS
Titles: 16 (one WTA Championships)
Career-High Ranking: No.2
PENG'S INDIVIDUAL DOUBLES STATS
Titles: 15 (one WTA Championships)
Career-High Ranking: No.1