Kudermetova and Mertens claim WTA doubles crown (VIDEO)
A dramatic fightback in the final set tiebreak earned Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova and her Belgian doubles partner Elise Mertens the crown at the WTA Finals in Texas early on Tuesday morning as they stormed back from a five point deficit to claim a sensational victory against defending champions Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova.
The final score stood at 6-2, 4-6, [11-9] after Kudermetova and Mertens roared back from 7-2 down to win what is their second doubles trophy of the season, after the mammoth 1 hour 42 minute encounter.
Both teams had been in impressive form throughout the tournament but it was Kudermetova and Mertens who started the match brighter as they combined to shut down their opponents’ service game to race into a 4-0 lead in the first set.
It initially seemed as though the result might be a formality after Kudermetova and Mertens continued their momentum early in the second as they again broke serve to lead 4-3 but a rare Kudermetova error allowed Krejcikova and Siniakova a glimmer of hope, and this was the only invitation they needed as they won the remaining games in the second set without dropping a point.
The Czech pair seized the ascendency early in the match-tiebreak as they found themselves up by 7-2, but a fightback from Kudermetova and Mertens saw them score five successive points to level the scores at 7 points apiece.
Krejcikova and Siniakova wouldn’t go down easily, however, as they saved a championship point at 9-8 but it was Mertens who scored the telling shot when a strong return forced an error from Krejcikova, and handed the duo victory against last year's champions and avenged their defeat in this year’s Australian Open semi-finals.
It was just the fourth match lost by Krejcikova and Siniakova in 2022 in a spectacular season in which they won three Grand Slams at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open
“It’s tough to say right now, because a lot of emotions,” the 25-year-old Kudermetova said afterwards. “But I think we’re so happy and so proud of our team.”
“I was close last year,” Mertens added. “I think we played really consistent this tournament. And yeah, I can’t even believe we won. That super-tiebreak was 7-2? I can’t even remember points.
“In that tiebreak when it was 2-7, I said to Elise that we need to believe, we need to stay positive, and it doesn’t matter what happens, we keep working,” Kudermetova continued.
After teaming up just last year, Kudermetova and Mertens have now combined for three titles – and judging by their efforts in defeating the all-star Czech team in Texas, there might be significantly more silverware in their future.