MIAMI, FL, USA - Nearly two decades after her first Indian Wells/Miami "Sunshine Double," former World No.1 Martina Hingis is on the precipice of a third with new partner and fellow top doubles star, Chan Yung-Jan.
Hingis' first double came with two different partners back in 1999, winning the BNP Paribas Open with Anna Kournikova and the Miami Open with Jana Novotna; the Swiss Miss followed that up at long last with Sania Mirza in 2015, kickstarting what became the most dominant partnership of the last decade, foreshadowing a 41-match winning streak and a run through three straight major titles at Wimbledon, the US Open, and Australian Open.
"It started at a practice in Melbourne, when we were sharing a court," Chan, who also goes by Latisha, told WTA Insider after their straight-set win over Andreja Klepac and María José Martínez Sánchez. "I was hitting with Angel, my sister. Martina and I stayed on the same side of court and played some points together.
"At one point, she said that if Angel can't play with me because of injuries or some other reason, to give her a call, and she'd be happy to play with me. I was so flattered! But I didn't tell her that."
The sisters split after defending their home title in Chinese Taipei, and she found herself back on the same side as Hingis by the start of the Middle East Swing.
"My sister and I didn't do well at the Australian Open and we started to talk about splitting up, and I think it was great timing.
"We still practice together and watch her matches. It's kind of like three against two because we have Angel behind us against the other teams."
"When we started in Doha, I wasn't quite up to it in the super tie-break, and wasn't much of a help," Hingis said. "Otherwise, I think we could have done better there. But Doha and Dubai helped us get a feel for each other and to trust each other, so we know what to do on the court."
On an eight-match winning streak since winning in Indian Wells, it was clear the duo were already in sync.
"It's not fair for her to say she wasn't playing well at the beginning," Chan immediately disagrees. "I had a similar partner like her, a net player. For me it was easier to adapt, but for her, I might be a little bit different than her previous partners, so she needed more time to understand and get a rhythm."
"It was good to know that there was actually some consistency from somebody," Hingis banters back. "I could trust with her, that she was going to put the ball in!"
Both agreed that the fortnight in the California desert was key for their confidence, winning the title without dropping a set against tough teams like Mirza and Barbora Strycova, and World No.1 Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova.
"In Indian Wells, we got two weeks to practice and be together, having cheesecake and going shopping!" Hingis laughed. "That helped a lot with our communication, and that brought us closer together. That's why we won and that's why we're in the semifinals here."
Standing between them and a second straight final is Mirza and Strycova in a rematch of last week's quarterfinal.
"Playing them, it's one of the best teams out there. We have to take it seriously, and I know they'll probably want to get back at us from Indian Wells..." Hingis started.
"Everyone around here is going to give you a tough match, and they're very strong," Chan finished.
"We'll just try to play our best tennis and we'll see how it goes."
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All photos courtesy of Getty Images.