DOHA, Qatar - Top seeds Barbora Strycova and Hsieh Su-wei will take on No.6 seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Jelena Ostapenko in the final of the Qatar Total Open after each team triumphed in thrilling match tiebreaks in Thursday's semifinals.
Up first, Dabrowski and Ostapenko defeated No.2 seeds Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic, 6-4, 1-6, 10-7, before Hsieh and Strycova rallied from a 7-3 deficit in the match tiebreak to seal victory over No.4 seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, 6-4, 4-6, 12-10.
Hsieh and Strycova, who won their third title of the season last week in Dubai, will look to pull of the elusive double in the Middle East, as the Australian Open runners-up are looking to becoming the first team to sweep the two titles since Americans Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond did so in 2012.
Dabrowski and Ostapenko seek both their second title together and in Doha, to go along with their 2018 title, as the Canadian will face Hsieh and Strycova for the second week running. Last week, she was beaten by the pair in the semifinals while partnering Zhang Shuai.
In Thursday's first semifinal, Dabrowski and Ostapenko sprinted out of the gates against Australian Open champions Babos and Mladenovic, winning the first five games of the match. However, the duo were broken twice - on deciding points - in each of their first two attempts to serve out the opener, before the third time proved the charm.
Babos and Mladenovic bounced back in the second set, winning each of the first two games on deciding points before holding serve to love for a 3-0 lead. Despite having the momentum of a three straight games at their backs headed into the match tiebreak, Babos and Mladenovic never managed to hold a lead in the deciding set.
From 3-3, Dabrowski and Ostapenko won five of the next six points, and ultimately wrapped up a berth in their second Doha final on their third match point, improving their record at the event together to 9-0 in the process.
Next stop 👉 the final 🙌@GabyDabrowski and Jelena Ostapenko upset second seed Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 1-6, [10-7] and will play for the #QTO2020 🏆— Team Canada (@TeamCanada) February 27, 2020
📸: @WTA_insider pic.twitter.com/9iZSBjdi4K
The second semifinal was a rematch of the semifinals at the Australian Open, in which Hsieh and Strycova defeated Krejcikova and Siniakova with ease, 6-2, 6-3. Though the all-Czech pair started strongly, securing a break in the first game to lead 2-0, they surrendered four straight games from 4-2 up to fall a set behind.
The second set began in identical fashion, with the Czech pair breaking serve in the first game and holding to lead 2-0, and this time, Krejcikova and Siniakova held on to force a decider. The pair never faced a break point in the second set, and despite being unable to convert two set points in the ninth game, earned an emphatic hold to send the match the distance.
Their momentum continued well into the decider, as they secured a trio of mini-breaks en route to building their largest lead of four points at 7-3. However, the Czechs were never able to even earn match point, as they lost four points in a row to see the tiebreak level at 7-7, and held their last lead at 8-7.