Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova lived up to their No.1-seeded billing at the Tokyo Olympic Games, as they brought a gold medal back to Czech Republic.
The top-seeded tandem defeated Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic and Viktorija Golubic, 7-5, 6-1, in the one-hour and 25-minute final, becoming the first team from Czech Republic to claim the women’s doubles gold medal.
"I think it’s just very special," Krejcikova said in an on-court interview for The Olympic Channel, following the match. "It’s once in four years, it’s something different because you’re representing your country, and everybody back home is watching you. We just want them to be proud."
Krejcikova and Siniakova were the third Czech duo to reach the women’s doubles Olympic final: silver medals were captured by Helena Sukova and the late Jana Novotna (Krejcikova’s former mentor) in both 1988 and 1996, while Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka earned silver in 2012.
Gold Czech certified 🥇🥇@BKrejcikova and @K_Siniakova clinch the #CZE’s first @Olympics gold medal in tennis after defeating Bencic/Golubic 7-5 6-1!#Tokyo2020 | #Tennis | #Olympics pic.twitter.com/FBAYjMz7wX— ITF (@ITFTennis) August 1, 2021
The reigning Roland Garros champions went one step further, becoming the first from their country to prevail in any of those finals. Krejcikova and Siniakova converted five of their 11 break points, winning nine of the last ten games to triumph.
"I was really nervous at the beginning, but I was really happy that we won the first set, and in the second, we just started to play our tennis, and we just played better," Krejcikova said. "After this tough draw, these tough ten days, I think we just deserve it. We just really did well, and we were fighting every single game, so I’m just really happy, and I’m also really happy for my partner."
"I think we have amazing team spirit," Siniakova added. "If I need it, Barbora supports me, and I think and hope it's the other way as well. We just really keep fighting and playing well now, so, as Bara said, I’m happy we did it because we had a really tough draw, and now it feels amazing."
#Tokyo2020 Women's Doubles Podium— ITF (@ITFTennis) August 1, 2021
🥇 Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova of #CZE
🥈 Viktorija Golubic and Belinda Bencic of #SUI
🥉 Laura Pigossi and Luisa Stefani of #BRA#Tennis | #Olympics pic.twitter.com/IMi5QyDXCS
Bencic and Golubic earned Switzerland’s second straight Olympic silver medal in women’s doubles, following Timea Bacsinszky and Martina Hingis in 2016. Bencic, who defeated Krejcikova in the round of 16 of the singles event, will head home with two medals after clinching the gold in singles on Saturday.
Bencic continued her run of great form in the closely contested first set, as her lobs and angled winners paired well with the backhand proficiency of Golubic. But the net-charging Czechs gritted their way through a number of tight games, saving a break point in their very first service game, to remain on level footing through 5-5.
#CZE | #Gold | #Tennis— Olympics (@Olympics) August 1, 2021
A first ever tennis gold medal for Czech Republic!
Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova - women's doubles winners!#StrongerTogether | #Tokyo2020 | @ITFTennis pic.twitter.com/w5HYZQ9ZBV
It was in that game where Krejcikova and Siniakova started to take control, after a deft Krejcikova volley forced an error from Golubic to bring up double break point. On the second opportunity, the Czechs drew an atypical backhand misfire from Golubic to claim the first break of the match and lead 6-5. Siniakova smoothly closed out the set in the following game with a service winner.
The second set was nearly one-way traffic as Krejcikova and Siniakova built a 3-0, double-break lead. Strong play by the Swiss clawed one break back, but the Czechs’ momentum would not be derailed as they leapt ahead to 5-1. The No.1 seeds needed five championship points in the final game, but they at last clinched the gold medal after an error-forcing backhand by Siniakova.
"I’m just really proud how we did this week, and how we supported each other, even in the tough moments," Krejcikova said. "We just did really well. Also during the year, we’ve been just fighting. We had many ups and downs, but I think the things where we should have played well and we wanted to play well -- it’s here, and it happened. We are really proud and really grateful that we have the opportunity to be here."