Melbourne: In a perfect climax to their stupendous run, Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis were today crowned the Australian Open women’s doubles champions after they tamed the spirited Czech duo of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka in straight sets for their 36th win in a row, here.
The top seeds fought past the seventh seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka 7-6 (1) 6-3 in the women’s doubles final that lasted one hour and 45 minutes.
It was their third consecutive Grand Slam title for Sania and Martina, having won the Wimbledon and US Open in the 2015 season.
In an incredible feat, Sania and Martina have now extended their unbeaten run to 36 matches, winning eight titles in a row. They won five straight titles in 2015, starting from the US Open and before the Australian Open now.
It was Sania’s second title at the Australian Open, having won the mixed doubles in 2009 with Mahesh Bhupathi.
The final though was not a stroll in the park for the world number one team with the Czechs putting up a great fight in the opening set. The match was littered with breaks with the two teams struggling to hold serve throughout.
Hlavackova was excellent from the baseline and Hradecka was terrific at the net, playing some breathtaking shots and winners.
The top seeds though had enough resources in their kitty to blunt the challenge of the Czech girls.
“I would like to thank everyone for coming out and supporting us. For me Australian Open is special, it’s like home. I have special memories here. We had an incredible one year. Martina is an amazing champion and an amazing person, so it is a privilege for me to play with her,” Sania said.
“We know how good you are (Czech team). We lost to you at Roland Garros. Hopefully we will have more finals to fight for,” Sania said.
Martina was equally effusive in her praise for the Czechs.
“They pushed us to the limit. It was s tough tournament. We will try to defend our title next year.”
In the opening set, the two pairs could manage to hold serve only twice each as it was full of breaks.
Hradecka ran frantically to her left from the net and smashed one volley past Sania off Martina’s return and then the Swiss served two consecutive double faults to hand the Czechs an early break.
The top seeds had three break chances in the next game — the fourth — on Hlavackova’s serve but the Czech team saved all.
Martina earned a fourth at deuce with a volley and converted that with a forehand passing winner.
A double fault by Sania at 30-40 gave the break back to the Czech players, who were now leading 3-2.
Hradecka sent a forehand long to give the top seeds a breakpoint and netted a backhand to make it 3-3.
There was no end to breaks with Martina dropping her serve next. Hlavackova’s unreachable backhand lob gave the Czechs a breakpoint and the Swiss sent a forehand wide.
Hlavackova’s long forehand at 30-40 meant that Sania and Martina had a break chance but Martina’s return just landed wide and it was deuce.
The top seeds though made it 4-4 with Hlavackova’s consecutive forehand errors from the baseline.
Sania went down 0-40 in the next game but saved all three break chances. A forehand to net by Sania at deuce point and the top seeds were facing another break chance but managed to saved that.
Another break chance and this time the Czechs converted to lead 5-4.
The seventh seeds came out to serve out the set but were broken.
Martina finally held her serve in the 11th game and the top seeds led 6-5, this time not allowing the Czechs to convert break opportunities.
Eventually the Czecks too held and it boiled down to a tiebreak in which the top seeds trampled their opponents, losing just one point, to pocket the opening set.
They broke Hradecka in the very first game of the second set and never looked back after that. Though Martina was broken in the sixth game but the favourites broke back for a 5-2 lead.
There was more drama as Martina was broken in the eight while serving for the match and they squandered three match points in the ninth game on Hradecka’s serve.
Sania and Martina finally closed the championship in their favour on the fourth chance.