DUBAI, UAE - Playing together for the first time in nearly three years, No.5 seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Zheng Saisai reached their second final of 2020 each with a 6-2, 6-2 defeat of the unseeded Desirae Krawczyk and Alison Riske at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
Ironically, the Sino-Czech duo had been opponents in their previous final of the season, with Krejcikova and regular partner Katerina Siniakova defeating Zheng and Duan Yingying to win the Shenzhen title in January. They had only ever teamed up once previously to reach the 2017 Rome quarterfinals - but today Krejcikova and Zheng worked perfectly in sync to dominate the first-time duo of Krawczyk and Riske, winning four out of the five deciding points they encountered and breaking their opponents twice in each set.
"We played really smart, we had good communication on court and on the deciding points we played a little better," assessed Krejcikova of the result in their on-court interview.
In the opening stages, Krejcikova provided the team's solid bedrock, winning both of her service games to love; the Australian Open mixed doubles champion also found a pair of exquisite volleys en route to capturing the Krawczyk serve for 2-1. The 26-year-old Krawczyk would continue to struggle at the end of the first set and start of the second, sending one smash over the baseline on the deciding point of Riske's next service game and another in the first game of the second set.
Riske, too, would contribute to the American duo's downfall, committing four ill-timed double faults that paved the way to the loss of her serve twice in the second set; the 29-year-old let out a scream of frustration as the last of those put her team down break point at 1-3. By this point, Zheng had settled into her groove - and the Chinese player would become her team's MVP, routinely finding magic as she showed off her sharp focus on big points and marvellous hand skills.
The Roland Garros doubles runner-up conjured up some exquisite angles en route to breaking Riske for 4-1 in the first set and a pinpoint forehand pass that landed on the line on the way to holding for 3-1 in the second; she would also nail powerful forehand winners to capture both of her team's break points against Riske in the second set.
Although a touch over over-eagerness from Krejcikova and Zheng - as well as some last-ditch brilliance from Krawczyk - would see three match points on the Krawczyk serve pass by at 5-1, some fine serving from Zheng saw her team over the line after one hour and four minutes. In the final, they will face either No.1 seeds Hsieh Su-Wei and Barbora Strycova or No.4 seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Zhang Shuai.