INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - No.6 seed Martina Hingis and Chan Yung-Jan are becoming one of the new teams to beat in 2017, roaring into their second final in just three events since pairing up in the Middle East, outlasting top seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova, 7-6(7), 7-5 at the BNP Paribas Open.
"This is a big win for us at a huge event," Chan said after the match. "I'm happy we're in the final because it was a really close match against the best team in the tournament. It's good for our confidence to win this match. The key was our ability to put everything together when we had to. We stayed strong together as a team, even in the tie-break and on deciding points."
Hingis and Chan, who often goes by her English name, Latisha, reached their first final at the Qatar Total Open, and have been equally impressive in the California desert, ousting No.4 seed Sania Mirza and Barbora Strycova en route to the final four.
"Lucie and Bethanie are the No.1 team, and not for no reason," Hingis said. "They've had a great couple of years and know each other so well. I played them twice a couple years ago and was unsuccessful, so it was nice to go out there with Latisha and see how we'd end up. It's only our third tournament, so I'm definitely pleased with this win."
Mattek-Sands and Safarova had been forced to a match tie-break against another new team in Kristina Mladenovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova, but the Australian Open champions couldn't find the extra magic on Thursday as their eight-match winning streak came to a close in the searing heat.
"It was hot all week! We tried not to have a dip, but at a set and 4-1, we were in the middle of an emotional mindgame with the nerves. Everything was involved, but it was great for the crowd to see a match like that; it was doubles at a very high level, and even if it had gone the other way, we couldn't have been disappointed losing to one of the best teams out there."
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Once rivals, now partners, Hingis and Chan feel they've grown by leaps and bounds since their first tournament together, and are pleasantly surprised with how quickly their bond has grown in the last four weeks.
"At the beginning, we were both excited when we decided to play together, but we didn't know each other that well beyond playing against each other," Chan said. "We had to build the trust between us. After the tournaments in the Middle East, we built up a greater relationship between the two of us."
Standing between them and their first title as a team will be the winner of the second semfinal between Czech stars Lucie Hradecka and Katerina Siniakova and No.2 seeds, Olympic Gold medalists Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina.
"I played Siniakova and Hradecka at the Taiwan Open with [my sister] Angel in the final. We know Lucie very well, and Siniakova is a young gun playing well. Whoever wins, we'll have to step in and be aggressive"
"Vesnina and Makarova are another top team; I've played them a lot as well, and always great matches like the finals of Wimbledon and the Olympics," Hingis added. "These are the matches you look forward to because the last couple matches have shown where women's doubles is at and I'm proud to say I'm part of it.
"Either way we're trying to go for the title!"