SINGAPORE - Timea Babos and Andrea Hlavackova opened up their campaign at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global with a straight-sets win over Andreja Klepac and María José Martínez Sánchez, 6-3, 6-4.
"I think we played a good match today, from the very beginning," Babos said. "We were very aggressive and took early opportunities."
The duo raced out to a set and 5-2 lead before the tricky veterans edged back to within one game of evening things up in the second. Babos and Hlavackova quickly regained the momentum from there, clinching the first victory of the doubles event after one hour and 22 minutes on court.
"In the end, I couldn’t serve out the match, but we stayed in it and started the next game well. That gave us the confidence to finish it out."
Babos and Hlavackova have been a team to watch since pairing up at the start of the clay court season - winning their first event together at the Grand Prix de SAR La Princesse Meryem in Rabat - and have been all but unstoppable since the US Open, losing just one match in the China Open final and winning three titles in Québec City, Tashkent, and Moscow.
"We obviously played many matches after the US Open, maybe at smaller tournaments, but they definitely gave us a lot of confidence and experience," Hlavackova explained. "Nothing is better than a match; you cannot practice what’s happening out there, and it showed today. At 5-4, we were still able to play a good game despite not serving it out, that’s because we have so many matches behind us."
The Hungarian youngster is enjoying her best result in Singapore in her third straight appearance at the event, previously qualifying in 2015 and 2016 with Kristina Mladenovic and Yaroslava Shvedova, respectively.
Hlavackova is playing her first WTA Finals without Lucie Hradecka, having finished runner-up back in 2012 and reaching the semifinals in 2015, but there's still plenty to explore for the Czech veteran, who married longtime boyfriend Fabrizio Sestini in the summer.
"I still need to check out the pool, because I haven’t been there yet!"
First through to the final four, Babos and Hlavackova will play either WTA Co-No.1s and top seeds Martina Hingis and Chan Yung-Jan or Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Kveta Peschke for a spot in the final.