FORT WORTH, Texas -- No.4 seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Elise Mertens needed a set to find their rhythm against No.5 seeds Lyudmyla Kichenok and Jelena Ostapenko, but rallied to a 3-6, 6-1, 10-6 victory on Day 2 of the WTA Finals.
Kudermetova and Mertens defeated Kichenok and Ostapenko to win their only team-title of the season, winning 6-1, 6-3 in the final of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. The Ukrainian-Latvian duo looked ready for revenge early, dominating the opening set with their firepower and net-aggression.
"It was one break, a lot of 40-all, and in doubles we have the deciding point so it can turn around pretty quick," Mertens said. "I think in the second set we just kept fighting and we started really well in the super-tiebreak. That really helped us."
With better returning from the baseline, Kudermetova and Mertens took hold of the match in the second set, breaking Kichenok and Ostapenko twice by winning two deciding points. That momentum continued the in the match-tiebreak. After racing out to a 4-0 lead, Kudermetova and Mertens held off Kichenok and Ostapenko's comeback bid to seal the win.
Former doubles No.1 Mertens is making her fourth WTA Finals appearance, playing each time with a different partner. She qualified in 2018 with Demi Schuurs, 2019 with Aryna Sabalenka, and was a runner-up in 2019 with Hsieh Su-Wei.
No.7 seeds Anna Danilina and Beatriz Haddad Maia closed out the night session with an upset, defeating No.2 seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Beatriz Haddad Maia 7-5, 6-0 to join Kudermetova and Mertens at the top of the Pam Shriver Group. Danilina and Haddad Maia were the last team to qualify for the season-ending event, sealing their spots after an improbably run to the Guadalajara Open Akron final two weeks ago.
Danilina and Haddad Maia continued their momentum in Fort Worth, deploying a swarming, aggressive style to unseat the Canadian-Mexican duo for a second time this season. En route to their first team title in Sydney this year, Danilina and Haddad Maia defeated Dabrowski and Olmos 6-4, 6-2. By winning their opening match in Fort Worth, Beatriz Haddad Maia became the first Brazilian player to win a match at the WTA Finals.