Timea Babos and Andrea Hlavackova have been one of the best pairings throughout the year despite only teaming up in April, and the WTA Finals champions won five titles within just six months. Impressive results ensued as their partnership clicked together, with the Hungarian and Czech breaking new grounds as a team. However, it would be a huge pity considering that they have decided to end their partnership, considering what they had achieved this year.
Babos and Hlavackova own an impressive 39-11 win-loss record as a pair despite only pairing up in April, which just shows how dominant they were. Two of them paired up with other players before joining forces mid-year as they ended their respective partnerships, and both had already achieved some incredible things on the doubles alley as individuals. Both Hlavackova and Babos were ranked inside the top-10 when they commenced their partnership, claiming five titles including the year-ending championships in Singapore.
Their first tournament together was in Rabat, where they strolled to claim the title losing only one set in the process. Babos and Hlavackova were already the overwhelming favorites entering the tournament and lived up to expectations, with their partnership getting off to a rocket start. They earned a commanding eight-match winning streak before they finally had their first loss together, losing to Chan Yung-jan and Martina Hingis in a tight final at the Mutua Madrid Open after beating eventual Singapore finalists Kiki Bertens and Johanna Larsson along the way.
Babos and Hlavackova had to wait for a long period of time before they finally reached another high point in their season. Shrugging off the disappointment of falling in the quarterfinals of the US Open, they stormed back by strolling to the trophy in Quebec City, where they did not lose more than three games en route to their triumph. Their success in the International events continued as they extended their winning streak to eight matches, marching onto their third title with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Nao Hibino and Oksana Kalashnikova in the final of the Tashkent Open.
Their longest winning streak ended at 11 matches as they sprang an unexpected run to the final at the China Open. Babos and Hlavackova impressively defeated Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina in the process, triumphing 7-5, 6-7, 10-8 in an extremely-tight semifinal encounter. However, the Hungarian-Czech pairing finally ran out of steam and fell to Chan Yung-jan and Martina Hingis in straight sets.
Another title ensued as Babos and Hlavackova claimed the title at the Premier event in Moscow, where they had to battle throughout the week after rattling off four consecutive wins in five days, with three of those matches going the distance. That proved to be the perfect preparation for the year-ending WTA Finals, with the pair getting off to a perfect start after easily defeating Andreja Klepac and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez in straight sets. Babos and Hlavackova then shockingly ousted Chan Yung-jan and Martina Hingis for their first win over the top-ranked team and also ending the legendary Swiss’ career as a result. Facing the surprise finalists Kiki Bertens and Johanna Larsson, the third seeds prevailed in a tight and thrilling final, taking their biggest title together.
Their first disappointing result came at the French Open, their first Major together as a pair. After a series of impressive results, Babos and Hlavackova shockingly fell in the second round of Roland Garros, losing to the unseeded pairing of Raluca Olaru and Olga Savchuk in three sets. It was a particularly poor performance from the fifth seeds, missing out on a golden opportunity to produce a good run.
Babos and Hlavackova have both reached the finals at Wimbledon with different partners in the past, but they did not seem to click together on grass this year. They fell to singles specialists Dominika Cibulkova and Kirsten Flipkens, who went on to win the title at the Ricoh Open where they were the overwhelming favorites. They were then on the receiving end of a huge upset at the Mallorca Open, being ousted by the unseeded team of Mariana Duque-Marino and Maria Irigoyen. A run to the semifinals at the Aegon International followed but it was yet another disappointment on the grass courts as they fell early at the Wimbledon Championships to Svetlana Kuznetsova and Kristina Mladenovic.
Another stretch of poor results came during the US Open Series. They were upset by the scratch pairing of Daria Gavrilova and Raquel Atawo before storming back to reach the quarterfinals in Cincinnati while defeating two eventual WTA Finals participants in the process. Babos and Hlavackova finally reached a Major quarterfinal at the US Open but came up short to Peng Shuai and Sania Mirza in a tight two-setter, narrowly missing out on a place in the semifinals.
Season Grade: A
Despite some periods of inconsistency which witnessed them failing to make an impact at the Grand Slams despite being handed favorable draws, Babos and Hlavackova has been impressive and dominant throughout other tournaments and have also labeled themselves as one of the best pairings in the world by triumphing in Singapore. They also ended the year with a 21-2 record in their last 23 matches. However, they have also announced that the WTA Finals was their last tournament together as a pair.