On Friday evening in Melbourne, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova won the Australian Open women’s doubles title after they beat the number 14 seeds Chan Yung-Jan and Zheng Jie 6-4 7-6(5). A particular win for Mattek-Sands ad Safarova as it was the first time either player has won a Grand Slam doubles title, but also the first time since 2007 that a first-time pairing managed to go through the final and win the trophy.
After a second set where Mattek-Sands and Safarova were up 2-0, they lost five of the next six games to trail 5-3 before coming back to push it to a tie-break. On match point, Mattek-Sands ripped a huge backhand down the line winner to give her and her partner a huge smile and the Australian Open doubles title. Here is how Bethanie Mattek-Sands reacted during her trophy ceremony speech: « First I want to say thanks to Lucie. This is our first tournament together, so I think maybe we’ll play a couple more this year! And to the fans, we just love coming to Melbourne. You guys have been amazing. You support us through all of our matches and the players all love coming down here. It’s definitely one of my favourite places to come to. »
The American was of course not the only one to be all smile. Here are Lucie Safarova’s reactions in press conference after she won her first Grand Slam title: « It’s just so special. It’s hard to describe the feelings. It’s like such a huge happiness, because to be a Grand Slam champion, it’s just the best you can have. » She then explained how this partnership started. « I had some partners where it took really a long time to find a good combination and to play well, but I think we pretty much clicked right away, we played well. It started just because we are long-time friends and her husband is good friend with my coach (Rob Steckley) so we talked about it during the off season and said yeah let’s do this! » And about how playing doubles can help for singles matches here is what the Czech champion thinks. « Yes, I think it helps for singles. It can be tough if you’re playing long singles and long doubles because you never know with the weather and anything but for me it’s a lot of fun, especially with Bethanie, and I think we are doing great so it should continue. »
Mattek-Sands and Safarova’s win over the No.14 seeds in Friday’s championship match wasn’t their only upset of the two weeks Down Under as they also took out No.10 seeds Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic, No.7 seeds Caroline Garcia and Katarina Srebotnik, No.3 seeds Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina and No.16 seeds Julia Goerges and Anna-Lena Groenefeld along the way to the final and trophy.
Center photo credit : Tennis Arena / Martin Sidorják