BEIJING, China - Wildcards Sofia Kenin and Bethanie Mattek-Sands became the new China Open doubles champions as they beat Jelena Ostapenko and Dayana Yastremska 6-3, 6-7(5), 10-7.2
"We got in as a wildcard team last minute," said Mattek-Sands afterwards. "But Kenin's a feisty one. This girl's running down shots, is not afraid to be at the net, closing volley out. There were a couple of matches where we were down, had to come back...there's very few people that match my energy on court. This kid's one of them"
In the first set, the American pair looked to be coasting to victory, breaking the Latvian's serve in the second game of the match and the Ukrainian in game No.4, setting Kenin up for the chance to serve the first set out to 15.
However, Ostapenko and Yastremska started the second set much more brightly, taking a 3-0 lead as they used the court space cleverly, bisecting their opponents - but the Americans were not shaken as Mattek-Sands promptly held her serve to 15 to get on the board, and they then won three games in succession to edge in front again.
The score stayed close from there, and the second set was concluded with a tiebreak, which Ostapenko and Yastremska took 7-5, with the former French Open champion's backhand proving crucial.
The deciding tiebreak itself was just as close as could have been anticipated, with both pairs staying level until the Americans made a sprint for the line, taking a 9-6 lead, and they sealed victory when Yastremska returned Kenin's serve long.
"With doubles, anything can change," reflected Kenin. "We just went for it, and tried to play aggressive."