Kristina Mladenovic will become the new WTA Doubles World No.1 next week, and has even more to celebrate after she captured a second Roland Garros women's doubles title alongside childhood friend, Timea Babos.
David Kane
June 9, 2019

PARIS, France - Kristina Mladenovic had already clinched her spot as the new WTA Doubles World No.1, and further cemented the career achievement with a third Grand Slam women's doubles title, pairing fellow No.2 seed Timea Babos to defeat Chinese team Duan Ying-Ying and Zheng Saisai, 6-2, 6-3 to win the French Open.

"Every single one is very special and memorable and lots of emotions," Mladenovic said after the match. "But I think this one comes on top, I would say, somehow for me, because it's very special."

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Mladenovic, who now has a grand total of five major titles (including two in mixed), won her second title on the terre battue and first with Babos after one hour and 10 minutes on Court Philippe-Chatrier. For Babos, it's her second major title, having first won the 2018 Australian Open (also with Mladenovic).

"This is what we are working hard for," Babos added. "As you guys know, we are not necessarily like doubles specialists, but it somehow turns out to be that we are really good at it, and we really complement each other well.

"I'm very, very happy that I could feel also this special moment how it is to play in Kiki's home."

The Frenchwoman needed to at least reach the semifinals to have a chance at the No.1 ranking, where she and childhood friend Babos knocked out Sunshine Double winner Elise Mertens - her remaining rival for the top spot - and Aryna Sabalenka for the team to reach their third straight major final, having finished runner-up at the 2018 US Open and again this year in Melbourne.

"Every single final is amazing," Babos said. "Thankfully we experienced a lot of finals, but the last two didn't go in our way, which was pretty sad and it was tough moments, but today we really found our way how to win this title together.

"I'm very, very happy about it, and that the French people know that I can speak a little bit of French."

Across the net were a pair of giant-killers who defeated three top-seeded teams - including No.4 seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Xu Yi-Fan, to each make their first major final in any discipline.


It was that gap in experience that surely helped the reigning BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global champions as they saved three break points in the third game of the match, riding that momentum to two breaks of their own to capture the opening set.

"Our games are quite complementary on the court with the years and experience," Mladenovic said. "We know the weakness of each other in the game, and also through our great successes and victories and defeats, we have learned how to manage things, how to protect ourselves, how to use our strong points. This is what makes the difference for great events."

The Chinese duo snapped the streak of six games against them to break Mladenovic in the second set, but couldn't hold on as the No.2 seeds took a 4-1 lead.

Serving for the title, Babos' famously big delivery took her and Mladenovic over the finish line on their second match point.


In all, the pair played impeccable tennis throughout, winning 80% of points behind their first serve and won nearly half of all points played on Duan and Zheng's, topping out at 49% for the match.

For Mladenovic, the run caps off a revitalizing clay court swing alongside new coach Sascha Bajin, one that saw her reach the Internazionali BNL d'Italia quarterfinals in singles - beating Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships winner Belinda Bencic and future French Open champion Ashleigh Barty along the way.

"That she won Roland Garros, it motivates me even more as I see that our levels are quite close," she said of the young Aussie.

She will now become the 42nd woman to reach World No.1 in doubles since the WTA rankings were introduced in 1975. 

"It's something absolutely crazy. I must say I have trouble realizing what it means. It's difficult to describe something that will remain with me for all my life. It will be next to my name and career as my best ranking. It's incredible."