NEW YORK, NY, USA - No.2 seeds Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic needed two sets to dismiss Raquel Atawo and Anna-Lena Groenefeld 6-3, 6-4 and charge into the quarterfinals of the US Open.
Babos and Mladenovic are going for their second Grand Slam of the season after restarting their partnership at this year’s Australian Open, where they claimed their first Grand Slam title as a team.
Now, with Babos the world’s No.1 doubles player and the team ranked No.2 on the Porsche Road to Singapore, the pair are one of the standout teams to beat at the year’s final Grand Slam.
“I think all of our adjustments and improvements are really paying off at this tournament,” Babos told press after the match. “We have really stepped into another level, and I think it’s great the way that we’re playing from the beginning of the year, but the last couple of weeks we improved.”
Babos and Mladenovic have a bit of extra motivation at this tournament as well, with Babos’ World No.1 Doubles Ranking - which she’s held for seven of the last eight weeks - on the line. Should the pair fail to reach the final, Ekaterina Makarova and Katerina Siniakova both have a shot to overtake her at the top after the US Open.
“To achieve the No.1 spot this year is something that I’m really happy about, but for us as a team it’s more about the titles,” Babos said. “I think it’s amazing to be No.1, but this week the main goal isn’t the ranking, it’s to go for the title and to share these moments with Kiki.”
They faced a tough challenge against the No.14 seeds Atawo and Groenefeld, going down a break in the first set at 3-2. But once Mladenovic and Babos found their rhythm they turned it around, reeling off four games in a row to see out the opening set.
They carried their momentum into the second, establishing the lead early on at 2-1, and dodging Atawo and Groenefeld’s break points to close it out with confidence and seal their spot into the quarterfinals.
“It was definitely not an easy match, they are always tricky opponents although we haven’t played against them before together,” Babos said afterward. “We were expecting a tough match with some difficult moments, and I think what we’re most happy about is how we dealt with those moments. How we were able to give our best choices and take our chances during those difficult periods.”
Joining them in the quarterfinals is Babos’ ranking challenger Katerina Siniakova, who along with partner Barbora Krejcikova - together the No.1 seeds - fought past Lyudmyla Kichenok and Laura Siegemund, 6-3, 6-2.
The unseeded duos of Sam Stosur and Zhang Shuai - who knocked out St. Petersburg champions Timea Bacsinszky and Vera Zvonareva, 6-3, 6-3 - and Irina Khromacheva and Dalila Jakupovic - who defeated Nao Hibino and Oksana Kalashnikova 6-4, 6-1 - are also through.