WTA Finals: Babos and Mladenovic successfully defend their title
Babos and Mladenovic with their title | Photo: Clive Brunskill

Kristina Mladenovic may have lost in the battle of the year-end doubles number one ranking to Barbora Strycova, but the Frenchwoman prevailed in the clash of the titans to take home the WTA Finals title for the second year in the running. Timea Babos partnered Mladenovic to triumph in Shenzhen, one year after triumphing in Singapore. The Hungarian created history with this title as she became the first person since Lindsay Davenport to take home the Martina Navratilova trophy for three straight years.

Babos and Mladenovic defeated Hsieh Su-wei and Strycova in a one-sided fashion, dominating their encounter with a 6-1, 6-3 scoreline and playing one of their best matches to lift the title. The Hungarian-French pairing managed to exact revenge for their Wimbledon semifinal loss, prevailing in just an hour and four minutes.

Babos and Mladenovic celebrate their win | Photo: Clive Brunskill
Babos and Mladenovic celebrate their win | Photo: Clive Brunskill

85 per cent of first serves won were crucial for the third seeds as they blasted 17 winners, much credit to Mladenovic’s blistering forehands. 11 winners and unforced errors apiece for Hsieh and Strycova meant that they were not aggressive enough to overwhelm their opponents, after a midnight finish yesterday against Groenefeld and Schuurs.

As a result, Babos and Mladenovic went unbeaten throughout the tournament and claimed the biggest paycheck available for doubles players in tennis. They will head into the new season with confidence, hoping to grab more trophies in their bags.

Babos and Mladenovic stroll to the win

It was a terrific start for the defending champions as they rattled off three consecutive games and owned a double-break lead within a blink of an eye. Hsieh and Strycova looked a little overwhelmed by the situation, calling their coach down for a quick chat during the first changeover.

It was not Hsieh and Strycova's day today | Photo: Clive Brunskill
It was not Hsieh and Strycova's day today | Photo: Clive Brunskill

Despite a love service hold which helped the second seeds get onto the scoreboard, it was only able to prevent a bagel defeat as Babos and Mladenovic inflicted a devastating breadstick scoreline on their higher-ranked opponents.

There was a much-improved display from Hsieh and Strycova in the second set, but it was not enough to overcome Babos and Mladenovic, who continued to dominate with their fantastic touch at the net. 

After conceding the break in the opening game of the second set, Babos and Mladenovic rattled off six of the following seven games, prevailing on two deciding points and rolled towards victory, being handed their second Martina Navratilova doubles trophy by the legend herself.