A surprise news emerged out from social media recently as the number two pairing on the Singapore leaderboard Andrea Hlavackova and Peng Shuai had announced plans to split up as a pair after just four months of their planned permanent partnership. Despite having a really successful 2017 season up till now, the pair were forced to split up because of Peng’s first priority being the singles competition.
Reason of their split
The main reason for their split was Peng wanting to focus more on her singles competition after a successful and encouraging start to the season which saw her rise back into the top 50 of the rankings, inclining her to continue to work harder and make a push further up in the rankings. As according to Ondrej Novotny on Twitter, Peng stated that the surgery caused her to not be able to play both singles and doubles regularly at tournaments. It would most likely be just precautionary as overplaying may lead to an aggravation of the injury she had suffered from in 2015, thus leading to her decision of halting the partnership between Hlavackova and her.
Results in 2017
Andrea Hlavackova and Peng Shuai won just one title this year but managed to reach a total of three finals in their four months of partnership. They won the title in Shenzhen, their first tournament of the year, before narrowly falling to the eventual finalists Sania Mirza and Barbora Strycova in the first round, a very tough match-up for a first round match. Following at the Australian Open, Hlavackova and Peng came up with several huge upsets to reach the final where they lost to world number one pairing of Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova.
Despite so, they still managed to beat the formidable pairing of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina and the ex-world number one pairing of Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic, who had also just split up after a successful season. Suffering an early exit in Qatar, they bounced back to reach the final in Dubai but allowed Makarova and Vesnina to exact revenge for their loss in Melbourne in a rain-plagued final. Huge contenders for the titles in Indian Wells and Miami, Hlavackova and Peng fell to Svetlana Kuznetsova and Kristina Mladenovic in Indian Wells and the surprise eventual winner of Gabriela Dabrowski and Xu Yifan in the semifinals of the Miami Open.
New partner for Hlavackova
Andrea Hlavackova would now partner Timea Babos permanently, another doubles player who qualified for the WTA Finals last year but has no permanent partner this year. Babos originally paired up with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for the large events on the tour as both of them wanted to focus on singles competition, but after winning the title in Sydney, they suffered from a string of consecutive disappointing results. It would be interesting to see if Babos and Hlavackova would work well as a pair, with Hlavackova being able to dominate the net and Babos able to control play at the backcourt.