MADRID, Spain - The No.5 seeded team of Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic struck once again in their burgeoning rivalry with World No.1 doubles team Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis. The Frenchwomen defeated Hingis and Mirza 6-4, 6-4 to claim the doubles title at the Mutua Madrid Open.
Despite the French team being seeded No.5 in Madrid, they've emerged as a force to be reckoned with in 2016, reaching five finals in the eight tournaments they've played together. They're also developing a fierce rivalry with Hingis and Mirza: the pairs have met twice before - both times in finals - and split their head to head record.
"It's definitely great period for us," Garcia said in the post-match press conference. "Three finals, three titles, and two times against No.1 in the world, Martina and Sania, and once against Bethanie and Lucie. So it's only great matches every single time.
"Very, very happy with what we produced on the court today."
Playing in their third final against each other, both teams came to the Caja Magica looking primed and ready, winning every match en route to the final in straight sets.
Hingis and Mirza found themselves down a double break straight out of the gate as the Frenchwomen surged ahead 3-0. The world's leading pair - who own the third-best unbeaten run in WTA history at 41 matches - found a way to stem the tide and level the score at 3-3. But another late break from the French team put them ahead again and they took the set 6-4.
Another early break put Hingis and Mirza in trouble once again in the second set. Despite creating five chances to break the French team and get back on even ground, Garcia and Mladenovic saved every one. They took the second set 6-4 and claimed their third title of their doubles partnership.
Any plans for a celebration were cut short by the realities of a tennis player's hectic schedule:
"We basically have 12 more minutes before catching our car to get to the airport," Mladenovic said.
But still, they were able to treat themselves before heading off to Rome.
"The biggest reward was the first dessert of the week," she added. "Here at buffet it's amazing, and we are very proud - [we didn't] touch any sweet things, which is very, very good."
"But we did now," Garcia grinned.