No.1 seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova battled through a challenging championship match to win their first Australian Open title and add to their growing number of majors.
The Czech duo overcame a spirited effort from the unseeded and previously undefeated pair of Anna Danilina of Kazakhstan and Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil, winning 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-4 to notch their fourth career Grand Slam women's doubles title.
The champions speak: "It's amazing," Siniakova said, in the pair's post-match press conference. "After playing last year the final, we are so happy that we have the title. It was a really big fight, and we needed to push hard.
"We were fighting hard to get the Australian one. So it's just really exciting and super happy, because the focus on the Grand Slam ... you want to get these titles, the big ones, so I'm just extremely happy that we got it."
UNSTOPPABLE💥— wta (@WTA) January 30, 2022
The undisputed No.1 ranked team in the world, @BKrejcikova & @K_Siniakova clinch their first #AusOpen women's doubles title 🏆 pic.twitter.com/GpXo7tjOm8
"Last year we finished in the finals, so just to get again all the way to the finals and finally making it, it's perfect," added Krejcikova. "It's like a huge, I would say, relief. We're just extremely happy that it's finally our trophy.
"In the second set I was just telling Katka, 'Let's keep going, let's keep playing, we're gonna get our chances again, and we have to convert them.' I think this was pretty much the key in second set that we convert the chances. Same thing [in the] third set. This match was really tight and it was a really long match."
Czechmate: Siniakova, ranked WTA Doubles World No.1, and Krejcikova, No.2 in the doubles rankings, had finished as runners-up in Melbourne last season, falling to Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka.
But the Czechs prevailed this time around in a riveting 2-hour and 42-minute affair. Krejcikova and Siniakova add to their two Roland Garros titles (2018 and 2021) and their 2018 Wimbledon title, meaning they are a US Open title away from the career Grand Slam.
Krejcikova and Siniakova are now 4-1 in women's doubles Grand Slam finals. Overall, it is Siniakova's 16th career WTA doubles title, and the 12th for Krejcikova.
Reigning Olympic gold medalists Krejcikova and Siniakova have improved one step further in each of the last five editions of the Australian Open. They lost in the round of 16 in their 2018 debut, then reached the 2019 quarterfinals, the 2020 semifinals, and the 2021 final before their title this year.
Career bests: The narrow loss ended the exceptional run for Danilina and Haddad Maia, who paired up for the first time two weeks ago and promptly won the Sydney title before making their first Grand Slam final in Melbourne. The tandem won the first nine matches of their partnership.
Haddad Maia was the third Brazilian woman to reach a Grand Slam doubles final. Maria Bueno won a total of 19 Grand Slam titles between 1959 and 1968 (7 singles, 11 women's doubles and one mixed doubles), and Claudia Monteiro reached the mixed doubles final at 1982 Roland Garros.
Danilina was ranked No.75 in doubles coming into Sydney, but hit a career-high of No.53 after that title, and will leave the Australian Open with a projected Top 30 doubles ranking. Haddad Maia will also reach a new career-high doubles ranking, projected to crack the Top 45.
Nailed it! 🏆@BKrejcikova x @K_Siniakova— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 30, 2022
#AusOpen · #AO2022 pic.twitter.com/NFqC4jlffp
Match moments: A touch-and-go hour-long first set came down to a tiebreak, where Danilina and Haddad Maia stunned the top seeds by zooming out to a 6-0 lead. The Czechs saved the first three set points but could not blunt the unseeded pair's power on the fourth, where Haddad Maia fired a second-serve ace.
However, the Brazilian double faulted on break point in the first game of the second set to cede a quick break to the Czechs. The No.1 pair had to stave off a break point during a tough Krejcikova hold for 4-2, but their stellar volleying carried them through the rest of the set as they leveled the match.
The Czechs continued to triumph in complex all-court rallies as they surged to a 5-2, double-break lead in the decider. Bolstered by some incredible last-minute reflex volleys by Danilina, she and Haddad Maia clawed one break back, but Krejcikova held onto her serve at 5-4 to seal victory.
Krejcikova and Siniakova were out-winnered 22 to 19 but converted five of their seven break points to close out the match and grab another Grand Slam crown.