No.1 seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic pulled off an undefeated week in the doubles event at the Akron WTA Finals in Guadalajara, ending their superb year with a title at the prestigious year-ending championships.
The Czechs defeated No.3 seeds Hsieh Su-wei of Chinese Taipei and Elise Mertens of Belgium, 6-3, 6-4, in an hour and 18 minutes, to claim their first WTA Finals doubles championship.
The final victory also clinches the year-end WTA Doubles World No.1 ranking for Siniakova, who will displace Hsieh at the top when the next rankings are released. All four of the players who competed in the final have held the WTA Doubles World No.1 ranking during their careers.
Charting the Czechs: This is the fifth title of the season for the Czech duo. Their championship haul in 2021 includes their third career Grand Slam women’s doubles title at Roland Garros, as well as the Olympic gold medal.
Krejcikova and Siniakova went one better than their previous best result at the WTA Finals. In their debut appearance in 2018, they finished as runners-up to Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic.
The top seeds were 3-0 in the round-robin portion of the competition, then edged No.4 seeds Nicole Melichar-Martinez and Demi Schuurs in the semifinals, before their straight-set win over Hsieh and Mertens in the final.
Words from the winners: "I think it was a really good day for us," Krejcikova said, in post-match press. "I think we did everything the best way we could. I was really happy that our game style was working and that everything we said was working. I just think that we were a really good team out there today.
"It's very, very special to get the trophy from Martina [Navratilova], who we look up to. She is a really big hero for us. The whole day was just amazing. I really enjoyed it. Yeah, now holidays!"
Siniakova added: "This week was really good for us. I think we needed to stay aggressive, and we did it. We were really playing well. We keep the team spirit, so we were just trying, we fight. I'm just really happy that we have the trophy."
Stat corner: Krejcikova and Siniakova dropped just four games when they defeated Hsieh and Mertens during the round-robin portion of the event. The rematch was a closer affair, but the Czechs still prevailed, saving five of the six break points they faced.
The No.1 seeds were dominant returning second serves, winning 65 percent of those points during the clash, which helped them convert three of the 10 break points they held.
Match moments: Three of the first six games went to a deciding point in the no-ad contest, but the teams stayed on serve until Mertens dropped serve at 3-2. The Czechs handed the break back in the following game, but eased back ahead 5-3 after a strong Siniakova return set up a drop volley winner by Krejcikova. In the next game, Siniakova slammed an overhead winner to convert set point.
The Czechs took the early lead in the second set as well, as Siniakova used beautiful backhands to attain a quick break in the opening game. Krejcikova and Siniakova held onto that advantage through 5-4, where a Siniakova volley saved a break point, queuing up their second championship point. An error-forcing drop volley by Siniakova sealed the deal as the No.1 seeds triumphed.