WTA Indian Wells: Vandeweghe And Mattek-Sands Win Their First Tournament Together

The 2016 BNP Paribas Open women’s doubles final saw the American duo of Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Coco Vandeweghe defeat the German-Czech duo of Julia Goerges and Karolina Pliskova. The championship match went in the favor of the team of Americans, 4-6, 6-4, 10-6.

Quick Start For The Europeans

The four players contesting walked onto Stadium 1 with smiles as they were greeted with flowers and a warm welcome from the California crowd. The match then began and the first game sparked confidence for the German as she vaulted her team to a break in the opening game. This year’s Australian Open doubles semifinalists extended their lead to 2-0. Mattek-Sands and Vandeweghe were in trouble early while they faced two points to go down an early double break. But a comeback hold gave the first-time-team their first game of the final. A run of three games from Goerges and Pliskova would then put them ahead 5-1 and within one game of the opening set. A frustrated Coco Vandeweghe banged her racquet against the court, hoping to get the negative energy out of her body after a disappointing start to the final.

Americans Too Late On First Set Comeback

The United States Fed Cup team members routinely held serve to put the pressure on their opponents as they served for the set. A visit from Vandeweghe’s coach at 5-2 rejuvenated the home-crowd pair. But the Americans went down two set points in the next game. The German-Czech team had seemed to wrap up the first set six games to two after an apparent ace from Goerges sealed it. However, a correct opposing challenge revealed that the serve was out and the game eventually went to Mattek-Sands and Vandeweghe. A consolidating hold forced their opponents to serve for the set yet again. Except this time, the 2015 WTA ace leader, Karolina Pliskova, stepped up to the line to serve. Four return errors off the United States natives’ racquets ended a streaky set in the Europeans’ favor, six games to four.

Servers Dictate Second Set

The home team started off their second set campaign with a comfortable hold, as well did the world number seven doubles team. The set looked as if it were a men’s singles match rather than a women’s doubles match on paper because there were only three total break points faced. The next six games went in the way of the server and the set was tied at 4-all. The pumped up team of Mattek-Sands and Vandeweghe continued to react well at the net and hit amazing volleys to shorten points. A ninth straight hold forced Goerges and Pliskova to serve to stay in the second set. The lack of consistency and movement at the net from Pliskova developed her as a target for the Americans. Then, a double fault off the German’s racquet sealed the set 6-4 for the California and Arizona residents, which forced the championship into a match tiebreaker.

Vandeweghe and Mattek-Sands give each other encouragement./Photo: Harry How/Getty Images
Vandeweghe and Mattek-Sands give each other encouragement. Photo: Harry How/Getty Images

Momentum Stays With Home Team

Mattek-Sands and Vandeweghe were the first to strike in the decisive championship tiebreak, as they raced to a 5-2 lead. Long points followed and the best and the worst came out of the players in the late, pressure moments. On their second championship point, Mattek-Sands and Vandeweghe birthed their first career title together at their first tournament together. They had only dropped one set en route to the title and they won arguably the fifth biggest tennis event in the world.

Vandeweghe stated in the trophy ceremony, “It’s pretty special for me. It’s my first doubles title, and to win it on home soil with an American is very special.

Mattek-Sands added, “All week long we’ve had great fan support, which is cool. As two Americans together, the support was awesome.”

What Is Next?

The American team will rise into the top eight on the doubles road to Singapore list. Both players are expected to reach their career-high doubles rankings, moving into the Miami Open this upcoming week. The strong team looks to improve their team ranking as they will play under the Floridian sun in Miami.