Andrea Hlavackova thought it was a joke when a friend gave her a shelf with the words “This is for Grand Slam trophies” written on it. However, now she can furnish it with some silverware after she teamed up with Lucie Hradecka to win their first Grand Slam title.
The unseeded Czech team defeated Sania Mirza of India and Elena Vesnina of Russia 6-4, 6-3 on Friday in the women’s doubles final at the French Open.
“I just put it under my bed, like what a silly joke,” Hlavackova said about her friend’s gift. “Today I realized that I’ll have actually something to put on [it].”
Hlavackova and Hradecka had never reached the quarter-finals at any Grand Slam tournament before. Their seventh-seeded opponents, Mirza and Vesnina, were the favorites going into the final.
Mirza won the mixed doubles title at the Australian Open in 2009 with Mahesh Bhupathi, while Vesnina reached last year’s Wimbledon final with Vera Zvonareva and the 2009 French Open final with Victoria Azarenka.
“In the finals of a Grand Slam, it’s not just about tennis,” Mirza said, “it’s about how you hold your nerves. They did a better job than us.”
The Czech team won five games in a row to lead 5-1 and took the first set when Vesnina sent a backhand return long.
They broke for a 3-2 lead in the second set when Vesnina netted a forehand, before clinching victory with a forehand volley by Hradecka.
“They came out firing from the first point,” Mirza said. “They also had no pressure. People expected that we’re going to win because they were unseeded, but they are very good players.”
The Czech pair won all their matches in straight sets at the French Open. Hradecka was the only player in the final who did not drop serve.
“Hradecka was really carrying the team together,” Mirza said. “She was hitting winners from basically anywhere in the court.”