The second seed Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova powered to a three-set victory over the spirited surprise finalists, 12th seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Peng Shuai, as they captured their second Australian Open trophy as a pair.
The tight first set was won by Peng and Hlavackova, but Mattek-Sands and Safarova stepped up their game to win the next two sets comfortably to close out the match and clinch the title.
Peng and Hlavackova steals the first set
Hlavackova and Peng had a great start to their first grand slam final together as a pair as they earned triple break points in the opening game with some precise hitting. They successfully converted their second break point, sealing the break in the early stages of the match. Excellent net play from Hlavackova then saw a consolidation of the service break as they held their opening service game to affirm their lead.
The team “Bucie” finally got onto the scoreboard when they held their serves for the first time and prevent themselves from lagging behind in the scoreboard. Consistent and solid serving from both Hlavackova and Peng continued as they secured yet another comfortable service hold to love to have a 3-1 lead. Strong serving by the players saw a string of easy service holds until 4-3, where Hlavackova had a chance to serve for a 5-3 lead. Annoyed and affected by the replays of points shown when she was serving and occasionally during the point, Hlavackova was broken to love as she hit consecutive double faults to gift the advantage away and allow the American-Czech pairing to return level.
Mattek-Sands and Safarova then won their ninth consecutive point in the set to take a 5-4 lead and be just a game away from a first set victory. Showing some nerves while serving to stay in the set, Hlavackova found her best serve at the most crucial moment when the score was 30-30, hitting an ace to bring up game point. Hlavackova and Peng finally closed out the game moments later, after being extended to deuce but managed to maintain their composure to hold onto their service game and keep them in the set.
The set was eventually extended to a tiebreak to decide its winner, and the Czech-Chinese pairing jumped out to a 3-1 lead within a blink of an eye, looking to close the set. They did not throw away the lead and closed out the tiebreak 7-4 to win the set after 51 minutes.
“Bucie” fights back to send the match to a decider
Mattek-Sands and Safarova looked on course for a deciding set as they ran out to a 3-0 lead at the start of the second set, breaking serve twice as Hlavackova and Peng looked all over the place and out of sorts, with nothing going right for them. The Czech-Chinese pairing finally got them onto the scoreboard as a double fault came at 30-30, which paved the way for the third service break of the set.
Coming from 15-30 down, Hlavackova and Peng attacked the backhands of their opponents and it proved effective as they held their serves for the first time in the second set to lessen the deficit. It did not really help them as Mattek-Sands and Safarova broke once more at 4-2 to put themselves in an advantageous position to close out the set.
They successfully won the set 6-3 after 38 minutes of play when she broke serve once more after being pegged back while serving for the set, sending the championship match into a deciding set.
“Bucie” seals the title
After an exchange of service holds to start the final set with, it was Mattek-Sands and Safarova who managed to make the first breakthrough of the set when they broke serve at 2-1, coming from 40-15 down to do so as Hlavackova served a double fault on break point. Team “Bucie” further extended their lead by consolidating the break of service with a tough service hold which saw them save a total of three break points to have a 4-1 lead.
They then looked certain for the title when they went up 0-40 on Peng’s serve, threatening to break for the second time in the set to have a chance to serve out the match. Nevertheless, some great serves and good follow-ups were crucial as they helped Peng to regain rhythm on her service and eventually hold her service game to stay in the match for a longer period of time.
Even though Hlavackova served an ace to hold her service game to love, it proved to be just a consolation game as Safarova comfortably served out the championship after 2 hours and 15 minutes.
This win sealed their second Australian Open doubles title, and their fourth grand slam title overall. Safarova would rise to the world number two spot in the doubles rankings on Monday, and Mattek-Sands would affirm her lead at the top of the rankings as she would cross the 10000 point mark on Monday.