The first huge shock of the doubles competition at the 2017 WTA Finals came on a peaceful Friday afternoon in Singapore as the fourth seeds Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua were shocked in the quarterfinals by the eighth seeds Kiki Bertens and Johanna Larsson, with the underdog pairing triumphing with a tight 7-6, 6-7, [10-6] scoreline. The first meeting between this pairs turned out to be a thriller lasting an hour and 54 minutes, a relatively long match for doubles.
Impressive start by Barty and Dellacqua
It was a very tight start to the match as five consecutive and comfortable service holds started the encounter, with neither of the pairs looking to make a breakthrough on the return. Expectedly, the underdogs were the first pair to blink as Barty was too solid at the baseline while Dellacqua was simply clinical at the net, with the all-Australian pairing then easily consolidating the break for a formidable 5-2 lead within a blink of an eye.
Bertens and Larsson returns level
Bertens and Larsson started to get going when facing the huge deficit, having won four consecutive points from 3-5 0-30 down while Barty served for the set. Before that game, the eighth seeds won just four points on the return. A fantastic return winner gave them the momentum before Bertens exposed the vulnerability on the Australians’ short balls, putting up a clinical display to break back out of nowhere.
Bertens and Larsson complete incredible comeback
Their amazing comeback continued after they broke serve for the second consecutive time, earning the golden opportunity to serve out the set. However, Barty and Dellacqua remained composed at the crucial moments, with Bertens sending a couple of groundstrokes long when facing the pressure. The tiebreak was another roller coaster, just like the set itself. The Australian pair first jumped out to a commanding 5-3 lead before being pegged back by their opponents, who eventually converted on their third set point to seal the first set despite winning fewer points.
Great start to the second set for the Australians
Determined to produce a comeback, Barty and Dellacqua got off to a head start in the second set as they broke serve in the opening game, looking to jump out to the early lead. Bertens and Larsson found themselves in some huge danger when they faced another break point in the third game, but some net masterclass by the Dutch got them onto the scoreboard.
Barty and Dellacqua gets pegged back but still closes out the set
It was much of a similar story as compared to the first set as Barty and Dellacqua had it easy going all the way until they served for the set at 5-4 up. Somehow, the underdogs often found their best tennis at the most crucial moments, with Barty sending a forehand into the net on break point as the pairs went back on serve all of a sudden.
The Australians then survived a tough and nervy game at 5-6, saving a match point to hold for 6-6. Another tiebreak ensued, but this time the third seeds were able to hold onto their lead, jumping out to an unbelievable 6-0 lead before ultimately closing out the set.
Bertens and Larsson claims the win
The match tiebreak featured six consecutive mini-breaks of serve from the opening point onwards before Bertens and Larsson became the first to win a point on their serves. Barty and Dellacqua were unable to find the rhythm on their serves and it proved to be costly as the underdogs eventually clinched the match tiebreak [10-6] after just 12 minutes of play.