Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova yesterday battled back from a set down and saved a championship point to claim their first doubles title of season at the Brisbane International.
The top seeds rallied after dropping the first set and a break in the second to complete a 3-6, 7-6 (9/7), 10-8 victory over Ashleigh Barty and Kiki Bertens in 1 hour, 45 minutes at Pat Rafter Arena.
After conceding the first set and falling behind in the second, the Taiwanese-Czech duo had to dig deep, saving championship point on Hsieh’s serve before forcing a super tiebreak.
They carried that momentum into the decider to race to a 6-1 lead, but the Australian-Dutch pairing fought back to 6-5 in front of a partisan crowd cheering for Queenslander Barty.
However, the top seeds battled back, with Hsieh converting the second of two championship points to claim their sixth title after victories in Indian Wells, California, in 2018; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Madrid; Birmingham, England; and Wimbledon last year.
The Taiwanese-Czech duo saved four of eight break points and converted three of six, winning 67 percent of points on their second service and taking advantage of their opponents’ five double faults.
“Kiki and Ash, well done for a great week, and especially for that match. I think we were playing all really great tennis,” Strycova said in her post-match comments at the Queensland Tennis Centre. “I’d like to thank Su-wei, my amazing partner... Especially the match point, because she’s sometimes playing shots that I don’t understand, but it’s amazing, so thank you for being on my side.”
“Congratulations girls, it was a hell of a match,” said world singles No. 1 Barty, who before the tournament had pledged to donate her winnings to the Red Cross to help the bushfire relief efforts.
“It’s been really great to be back on the competition court this week and I think with everything that’s been going on in Australia, the way everyone has been coming together has just been incredible,” Barty told the crowd. “All in all, I’m bloody proud to be an Aussie, so thank you very much everyone.”
Strycova also thanked the crowd.
“I had 10 years break from this tournament,”she said. “I was playing always Auckland and I was questioning myself why I did that because you guys are amazing, and Brisbane you are really amazing.”
In the singles, defending champion Karolina Pliskova prevailed in a three-set tug-of-war with Madison Keys to become the first three-time winner at the Brisbane International.
The world No. 2 overcame a mid-match blip to triumph 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.
Pliskova rode her big first serve to save two break points in the first set and converted on her first opportunity to surge ahead.
A set and break down, Keys broke back to level it 3-3 and went on to win the set and force a decider, in which the first six games stayed on serve before Pliskova broke the American in the seventh.
Keys refused to throw in the towel and foiled the Czech’s first attempt to serve out the match at 5-4.
Pliskova could not be denied though. She broke again for 6-5 and then served it out to clinch victory in her first meeting with the eighth seeded American in a little over two hours.
Additional reporting by Reuters
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