No.6 seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Rajeev Ram confirmed their expertise at the Australian Open mixed doubles event, as the tandem won their second title in three years in Melbourne with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over homeland hopes Samantha Stosur and Matthew Ebden.
Krejcikova has been dominant in the Australian Open mixed doubles, winning the title in each of the last three years. Along with her 2019 triumph alongside Ram, she also picked up the title last year partnering Nikola Mektic.
"It's amazing feeling," said Krejcikova. "Pretty much it's somewhere in your head, somewhere really far away, you're trying not to think about [a third consecutive title]. But, pretty much, not really during the match but before the match, I already got it in my head.
"And I was like, yesterday when I did the press conference after our [women's] doubles finals, I was like, 'You know, I really, really wish to get the third one in a row,' and now it's happening."
"This is Barbora's third time in a row, I was lucky to be next to her for two of them," said Ram. "We play for Grand Slam titles, and, you know, me as a doubles-only player now, this is half of it, for sure. You know, to be able to share this moment with her and our teams and our families and all that, it's pretty special. As a kid this is what you grow up thinking about."
Krejcikova and Ram had to stave off a match point in their second-round clash earlier in the week, but after that scare, they did not drop another set en route to their trophy. They capped off their run with a 59-minute romp in the final against the Aussie wildcards.
"The last time we won, I don't know if we saved a match point a couple years ago, but we were getting killed in our first-round match and ended up sneaking through in a breaker and maybe another tiebreaker and we kind of got better as the tournament went on," Ram noted.
"I think a little bit of experience also has some truth that you sort of find your form a little bit better," Ram continued. "We played a few more matches and kind of got the competition under our belt, if you will."
On Saturday night in Rod Laver Arena, the victors swiftly cruised to a 4-0 lead as their forecourt play outshone Stosur and Ebden's in the early going. Krejcikova and Ram swept to the one-set lead, being pushed to deciding point just once in the opener.
Stosur and Ebden reduced their errors to make the second set more competitive, but they were never able to break the serves of either Krejcikova or Ram. The second set went with service until the very last game, when a wide forehand by Ebden caused him to drop his serve and cede the title to Krejcikova and Ram.
"I'm just extremely happy that me and my partner -- all of my partners, but I mean, especially Rajeev because it's the second time for us together -- that they wanted to play with me and that we have such a good chemistry and we have been doing so well," said Krejcikova. "Really grateful and I just cannot thank them enough for giving me this opportunity to make three in a row."
"I play my best when I play with people that I get along with and enjoy and you can feel like you can feed off their energy, they can feed off your energy," said Ram. "The great part about doubles is it's a team game. In singles it's not like that. So when we get this situation where we can actually take help from somebody and you can help somebody else, I think it's important to have that chemistry and connection."