DUBAI, UAE – Hsieh Su-Wei and Barbora Strycova defended their Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships doubles title by overcoming Barbora Krejcikova and Zheng Saisai, 7-5, 3-6, [10-5] in the final.
The No.1 seeds had stormed through the draw without the loss of a single set to this point, sealing their second title of the year after winning in Brisbane, but were unable to repeat their feat of 12 months ago by going the entire week unblemished.
The Australian Open runners-up took command of the match from the beginning but were forced to fend off a brave fightback from the No.5 seeds to seal the win.
Throughout this entertaining encounter, there would be a terrific variation in shots displayed by both teams, with standout moments coming from either end of the court. Strycova’s net play was particularly eye catching and sealed the opening break of the match in the third game as she calmly put away an overhead after her partner had saved three break points in the previous game.
There was more intensity initially coming from the Czech-Taipei combination, which allowed them to move out to a 4-2 advantage, but their opponents raised their level as the climax approaches as they won successive games to love to level.
The key rally of the set came at 30-30 on Zheng’s serve at 5-5 and was won by a decisive Strycova volley after a high-quality exchange between the Chinese and Hsieh. Although the first break point chance was missed, Strycova timed a move across the net perfectly to seal the game.
A close set was secured for the top seeds as Strycova held her nerve to serve out after a fifth deciding point of the match.
The beginning of the second set, which was delayed as Zheng had treatment on a thigh injury, closely mirrored the start of the first.
Strycova was quick to apply pressure, and though she was unable to lead her team to a break in the first game, it arrived in the third.
The turning point arrived at 3-1, when Zheng incredibly picked up what appeared to be a dead bounce off the net in the first point of the game.
Another brief break followed as Zheng needed treatment on a grazed knee and thereafter it was the No.5 seeds who dominated, reeling off five successive games to level the match and force it into a tiebreak set.
Krejcikova and Zheng initially maintained their momentum to open up a healthy 3-0 advantage only for their rivals to rediscover their mojo at the net to storm to eight successive points.
It was an advantage they did not let go, with the match sealed as Zheng delivered successive double faults in an unfitting climax to a fine spectacle.