World No.1 Bethanie Mattek-Sands won her second Australian Open in two years alongside Lucie Safarova, recovering from a set down against Andrea Hlavackova and Peng Shuai.
WTA Staff

MELBOURNE, Australia - No.2 seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova survived a tense three-setter against the newly formed pairing of Andrea Hlavackova and Peng Shuai to win their second Slam in a row, winning the 2017 Australian Open women's doubles title, 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-3.

"We were celebrating like five-year-old kids out there," Mattek-Sands said after the match. "I mean, it still feels amazing to win it. It's a Grand Slam. When we got the trophy, we saw our names written on it. We know we get it written on there again. It's just special.

"So many great teams are on there. We played a lot of great teams to get to the finals. Part of it is really enjoying the journey, enjoying each match. Really, the celebrations kind of go quick. We're going to make sure we enjoy this moment for a little bit."

Mattek-Sands and Safarova have been the team to beat since last summer, when they won what was then their third Grand Slam title at the US Open and rode an 18-match winning streak into the final of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.

"We go out there and have a blast. I mean, I think our first one here in 2015, I hadn't played a lot of doubles the year before. Lucie and I had never played together as a team. We came out strong. I think it really has clicked from the beginning. It really hasn't stopped. I think it's gotten better.

"Lucie is one of my best friends off the court. We talk about life. We talk about tennis. I think more life stuff. But there's a little tennis in there every once in a while."

The American in particular had a career-best year in doubles last season, winning the elusive Sunshine Double at the BNP Paribas Open and the Miami Open with CoCo Vandeweghe and Safarova, respectovely, and became the top-ranked doubles player after starting 2017 with a win at the Brisbane International with Sania Mirza.

Dropping just one set en route to the final, Mattek-Sands and Safarova looked more confident after each victory, dancing through off-days with the help of fitness guru Shuan T.

Across the net on Friday's final was a familiar foe in Hlavackova, who was playing her second straight final in Melbourne, but with a new partner in Peng Shuai. Hlavackova and Peng had played together just five times heading into the first Slam of the season, but had an impressive record with three titles already under their belt, including the Shenzhen Open in the first week of the year.

Making their major debut as a team, Hlavackova and Peng earned back-to-back wins over top teams in No.3 seeds Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina in the quarterfinals, and top seeds Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic. Coincidentally, Vesnina, Garcia and Mladenovic were the only three women who could have usurped Mattek-Sands' No.1 ranking, and their losses guaranteed her the top spot befor taking the court for the final. 

Hlavackova and Peng exchanged breaks with Team Bucie to kick off the match, eventually edging through a 53-minute first-set tie-break and appearing on course for a big win on Rod Laver Arena.

"I think we were improving throughout the first set," Safarova said. "I felt like our game was throughout the match getting better and better. We stick together. We were positive. Never doubted that we would be able to pull it out."

But Mattek-Sands and Safarova dug in their heels, racing out to a double break lead to start the second and continued breaking serve to stay ahead and level the match.

"I think we really balance each other out," Mattek-Sands added. "We talk a lot during points, on the changeovers. It's all positive. I know there was a couple games we were up 40-love and we lost them. It's easy to think you had an opportunity and you missed it. But it's not the case.

"We play every point new, fresh, and we play our game."

The decider came down to one break, which the American/Czech duo earned in the fourth game and held on in a marathon fifth game to remain in the lead and eventually serve out the win in two hours and 14 minutes.

"It's not like you would expect it, but after what we've been through, I also feel like our game got better and better," Safarova said. "I believe we are one of the best teams out there.

"If we play our game, we are positive, keep like sticking together, pulling it out, I think we are going to hopefully get even more."

After the trophy ceremony, Mattek-Sands and Safarova dusted off their dance moves to thrill the Aussie crowd one more time: