Mladenovic & Safarova's Amazing Day
Published April 07, 2013 12:00
Unseeded, Mladenovic and Safarova stormed into the final without dropping a set - including a 76(5) 61 win over No.3 seeds Vania King and Lisa Raymond in the quarters - and in the final they continued that pattern, rallying from 3-1 down in the first set and fighting off five set points in a marathon 61-minute second set to close out No.1 seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Liezel Huber for the title, 63 76(6).
"It was an amazing day - an amazing feeling to win this title here with Lucie," Mladenovic beamed. "It was our first time playing together and I would like to thank Lucie. I really enjoyed my week here and we played some really great tennis, and it's just really nice to win. I'm very excited about it."
Safarova was particularly resilient during the week - on Friday she had to double up in the singles, playing both her third round and quarterfinal matches, and then took the doubles court again for the aforementioned upset of King and Raymond. Two days later, she's lifting up the doubles trophy.
The Czech was asked in press whether she remembers ever playing three matches in one day.
"Not on tour," Safarova said. "I actually don't remember doing that."
"I would like to tell you she was dying on the court in this third match," Mladenovic jumped in. "She was even running for like 40-0 points, and I was telling her like, 'Calm down, calm down!'"
"Kiki was so good because she was there and gave me her energy," Safarova said. "She wasn't supposed to do that. I was like, 'Okay, okay, I'm going to pull this through.' I have to thank you, Kiki."
Doubles is always popular at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, and this year was no exception.
"Every day there have been so many people coming to watch the matches, whether it's singles or doubles, and even our practice this morning," Safarova said. "It's great to see people here love tennis. I have always felt nice support when I'm playing at this tournament, so it's a really great thing."
"To play in such a big stadium with such a big crowd is a really great feeling," Mladenovic added.
Will the two partner up again? "I would love to, but Lucie matched up with Lepchenko before the season, so I'm not putting any pressure," Mladenovic said. "But we're still good friends. I'm not going to press Lucie to change partners for me, even though this week was amazing. But if we have the opportunity in the future, you never know. I would love to. She's a good friend. I hope we do."
Safarova won her second WTA doubles title, her first coming right here last year (with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova); Mladenovic won her fourth WTA doubles title, after Montréal and Québec City last year (with Klaudia Jans-Ignacik and Tatjana Malek) and Memphis this year (with Galina Voskoboeva).