Martina Hingis played the final match of her incredible career as she will now retire for the third time after the 2017 WTA Finals. Hingis and her partner Chan Yung-jan, the current world number ones, fell to an impressive Timea Babos and Andrea Hlavackova in the semifinals, and the third seeds put in an inspired display to get their first win over the US Open champions in four attempts.
Coming into this match: Both teams in great form
Chan and Hingis looked amazing in their quarterfinal match against Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Kveta Peschke, recovering from an early deficit to triumph in straight sets with a straightforward 6-3, 6-2 scoreline after just 77 minutes of play. Babos and Hlavackova also came into the last four with a relatively easy triumph over Andreja Klepac and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, ousting the sixth seeds with a 6-3, 6-4 win.
Babos and Hlavackova control play
The match started with an exchange of service holds but Hingis was the first to lose her serve as her vulnerable baseline game was exploited by Babos and Hlavackova and Chan looked all over the place at the net. The Hungarian-Czech pair gained confidence with the early break and was putting in a solid performance as Hlavackova had some good hands at the net, soon jumping out to a 3-1 lead.
Nothing was working for Chan and Hingis as they were broken for the second consecutive time, but an on-court coaching session aided them in retrieving one of the breaks back as they lessened the deficit to just one game within a blink of an eye. Nonetheless, Babos and Hlavackova remained composed and stayed untouchable on serve, eventually serving out the first set 6-4.
Tight second set
The start of the second set was much better from the Taiwanese-Swiss pair, who easily held their serves in the opening game before earning two break points. However, Babos peaked at the crucial moments as she threw in an ace and another screaming forehand down-the-line winner, ultimately holding her serve.
It soon became a galore of break points but neither of the teams was able to convert their chances, and the second set became an extremely tight affair. Babos and Hlavackova came into the match as the underdogs having lost their last three meetings against Chan and Hingis, and was also forced to play catch-up as they were second to serve in the set, but it also reflected their tough mentality as they were able to clinch comfortable service holds time after time.
Babos and Hlavackova claims the win
Just at the most crucial moment at 5-5, Babos fell to the ground in the midst of a rally, and she seemed to have injured herself as she started to break down in tears. A medical time-out ensued, and after some taping, she was able to return to action and continue competing. Hlavackova had a tricky service hold, with Chan and Hingis getting to deuce but failing to earn any set points.
The tiebreak had a similar storyline as compared to the set itself, with only two mini-breaks and a maximum of two points separating both teams at any point in time. Serving down match point at 5-6, Hingis sent a backhand volley long, marking the last shot of her career.
What an incredible career Martina Hingis has had — Five Grand Slam singles titles, 13 Grand Slam doubles titles, seven Grand Slam mixed doubles titles. Once a champion, forever a champion.