CINCINNATI, OH, USA - The second-seeded team of Chan Yung-jan and Martina Hingis staged two comebacks on Saturday night - first from a set down, then from a large deficit in the match tiebreak - to capture their sixth title of the year at the Western & Southern Open over Hsieh Su-wei and Monica Niculescu, 4-6, 6-4, 10-7.
The Taiwanese/Swiss pair had to work hard over 91 minutes to add another championship to their impressive 2017 haul, which includes the BNP Paribas Open, Mutua Madrid Open, Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Mallorca Open, and Aegon International Eastbourne, and has seen them already qualify for the 2017 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.
Their competitors had teamed up just once this year prior to Cincinnati, but when they did, Hsieh and Niculescu had been unstoppable, winning the title at the Ladies Open Biel Bienne - beating Hingis and her compatriot Timea Bacsinszky in the final.
"I think there were lots of ups and downs. I think they played really well. I think the court played also completely different at night than during the day, like, when we played on the outside courts," Hingis said. "We had to adjust, especially me in the beginning. I think it's sometimes the teamwork, we pull each other at the end, and I think I left my best tennis for the super-tiebreaker."
— W&S Open (@CincyTennis) August 20, 2017
Both teams initially struggled to find their rhythm on serve, as the match started with six of the first eight games going against serve, including the opening four games.
Another break gave Hsieh and Niculescu a chance to serve out the first set at 5-4, and the unseeded Taiwanese/Romanian tandem did so with ease, putting them one set closer to a stirring upset win in the championship match.
The teams combined for nine break points in the first set, seven of which were converted. Chan and Hingis, though, had the deciding point in three of the four games in which they were broken, and were unable to capitalize on those moments and hold on to their service.
In the next set, Chan and Hingis had to stave off three break points at 1-1, and a miscue on any of them would have put them in a dire position. But the second-seeded team finally won a deciding point on their serve to prevent them from going down a quick break.
Hsieh and Niculescu were the first team to surrender their serve in the second set, but serving at 4-2, Chan and Hingis could not keep their advantage, failing to convert a game point and falling back on serve.
Chan and Hingis were successful down the stretch, though, claiming a second break in the set to tie the match at one set each. Both teams served at much higher percentages in the second set, but Chan and Hingis were two-for-two on break points, while Hsieh and Niculescu could only convert one of four.
The pendulum seemed to swing back the other way when Hsieh and Niculescu claimed the first four points of the match tiebreak, but Chan and Hingis quickly seized the momentum and won the next six points to take a 6-4 lead in the decider.
Chan and Hingis eased to a 9-5 lead in the match tiebreak, and held on from there, clinching another championship on their third match point.
Added Chan: "I think, talking about the teamwork, I think even though we lost the first set, they were pretty strong in the first set, but we still tried to be there and believed in each other, that at some point we will come back.
"We were 4-Love down in the super-tiebreaker, and then we still believed that we can come back in the end, and we did. That's a very strong team spirit."