Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic were on a 12 match winning streak as they reached the finals, without dropping a set, at the Mutua Madrid Open. Their opponents, Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis had a few battles before they too reached the finals to set up a rematch of the Stuttgart final. Even though Santina were the doubles number one, with the form and consistency the French pair were in, they were very much the underdogs in this match up.
It was a strange first set as both pairs struggled to hold their service games, with the French duo eventually edging it. The second set was a lot tighter and the only break helped the French pair to defeat Santina once again, this time in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 to capture their biggest title yet.
Set full of breaks
The French duo were off to a flying start getting the double break to lead 3-0. However, as Mladenovic was serving to consolidate the lead, Santina came back to life to break for 1-3. The French pair threatened to break once more but Mirza unleashed an ace on break point to get to 2-3. Momentum had swung to Mirza and Hingis who then won their third game in a row by breaking to love to level for 3-3.
It was turning out to be a topsy turvy set with neither pair being able to hold serve as the French pair edged once more. However, they struggled on their second serve handing cheap points away allowing Santina to even the score yet again.
The ‘break fest’ continued as the French duo upped their level to break to love for a 5-4 advantage. This time, Garcia composed herself to serve the set out 6-4, a set in which they failed to win any of their 10 second serve points.
Tight second set which saw just one break of serve
The second set was a huge contrast to the first. Like in the first, Santina were immediately down a break trailing 0-1. The French duo had tightened up their serve as they held their games with relative ease. Santina were under constant pressure but each time they fended the French pair off to stay alive in the match.
Garcia and Mladenovic had their first test on the Mladenovic serve in the sixth game but they saved it well to hold on to their slender lead for 4-2. They had another opportunity to go up a double break but Santina hung on for 3-4. It was Santina's turn to apply pressure as they carved out four break point. Garcia though was as cool as a cucumber staying calm under the pressure to deny Santina on all four occasions.
The French pair could have won the match as they had a couple of championship points on the Mirza serve but she saw them off to give themselves a fighting chance. Serving at 5-4, the French duo set up championship point at 40-30. Mladenovic came up with a big serve that Hingis could barely return, handing the French pair a sensational victory without dropping a set the entire tournament.
With the win, they extend their streak to 13 match wins including the double over the number one pair.