Top-ranked Krejcikova, Siniakova win women's doubles

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Barbora Krejcikova, right, and Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic hold their trophy aloft after defeating Anna Danilina of Kazakhstan and Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil in the women's doubles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022, in Melbourne, Australia. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)

MELBOURNE – Top-ranked Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova took another major step in a partnership which began in junior ranks when they won the Australian Open women’s doubles 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-4 Sunday from unseeded Anna Danilina and Beatriz Haddad Maia.

The Czech pair claimed their first Australian Open title to go with one Wimbledon and two French Open titles to move a step closer to a career Grand Slam in doubles. They also are Olympic champions.

They were finalists in Melbourne last year but went down 6-2, 6-3 to Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka. Krejcikova also had been in top form in the singles in Melbourne this year before unexpectedly falling to Madison Keys in the quarterfinals.

The top seeds were fully stretched by Danilina of Kazakhstan and Haddad Maia of Brazil who put together their partnership less than a month ago and were unbeaten in nine matches before Sunday. They won the Sydney Classic doubles title before tackling their first Grand Slam tournament together.

Danilina and Haddad Maia became the first pair to take a set from Krejcikova and Siniakova in Melbourne and kept the final alive for 2 hours and 42 minutes before finally succumbing.

Krejcikova and Siniakova’s well-honed partnership was scratchy at times Sunday before experience pulled them through. Siniakova was more active in the first two sets while Krejcikova seemed unusually stuck on the baseline and less mobile than usual at the net.

Krejcikova stepped up in the final set and produced many of the key points, hitting strongly through the middle of the court while Siniakova crossed over at the net for clutch volleys.

Siniakova had served for the match at 5-2 in the third set but Danilina and Haddad Maia, not to be denied, broke her serve.

Haddad Maia held serve in front of cheering fans waving Brazil flags before Krejcikova clinched the win on serve.

“You guys have played two great tournaments and I hope you’re going to continue together and I hope we’re going to have more fights like this because it’s a real pleasure to share a court with you,” Krejcikova said court-side. “You’re really amazing.

“I want also want to thank my partner for playing with me for a very, very long time. I’m so happy we are still working so well together and our co-operation is only going up so I’m really happy with that and I’m looking forward to the next adventure.”

Siniakova thanked Krejcivoka for her support through recent difficult times.

“Thank you for pushing me hard and for helping me and just being on my side on the court,” she said.

The top seeds fell behind in the first set when Siniakova’s serve was broken in the third game. They leveled, breaking Danilina in the eighth game and Siniakova and Danilina both lost their serves again before the set went to a tiebreak.

Danilina and Haddad Maia won the first six points on the tiebreak and held on comfortably to take the set.

Haddad Maia dropped serve in the opening game of the second set and Krejcikova and Siniakova held that advantage to level the match. They also broke Haddad Maia for an early advantage in the deciding set before their unseeded rivals fought back to extend the match.

Haddad Maia already had experienced a finals loss against Krejcikova and Siniakova, losing to the pair in the finals of the French Open juniors.

“We weren’t supposed to play together again this week,” she said, addressing Danilina. “I think we played our best in all the matches. I think we had eight matches in the third set so we gave everything and I’m very proud to learn with you.

“Congratulations to Barbora and Katarina. I played you 10 years ago in the Roland Garros juniors finals and I lost also. But you guys are doing nice work all these years.”

Danilina was a star at the University of Florida, winning an NCAA title with the Florida Gators before graduating with an economics degree in 2018.


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