The partnership between two world-class doubles players Timea Babos and Andrea Hlavackova was only formed in May, but their results in the past five months were consistent enough to send them to the year-end WTA Finals on their first attempt to qualify. The pair won three titles, which were all from the International level. Nonetheless, they were able to constantly appear in the latter stages of any tournaments, which pushed them to their sixth position on the Porsche Race to Singapore leaderboard.
Babos and Hlavackova only came together because they have split from their former partners, with the Czech ending her partnership with Peng Shuai despite a successful campaign thus far and Babos unable to permanently continue her collaboration with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova as the Russian wants to focus on the singles competition.
The pair won their debut tournament as they triumphed in Rabat without facing many troubles, taking home the silverware as the top seeds and they did not face a single seeded pairing in their path to the title. Possessing all the momentum, Babos and Hlavackova were simply destructive on the clay courts as they stormed to the final at the Madrid Open, a Premier Mandatory event.
Winning 10 of their first 11 matches, Babos and Hlavackova made their third consecutive semifinal appearance at the Internazionali BNL D’Italia, falling to the top seeds Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina in a tight three-set thriller. They ran out of steam in their first Major, crashing out of the French Open in the second round as they lost to Raluca Olaru and Olga Savchuk.
Struggles during Grass Court Season
Babos and Hlavackova failed to live up to expectations throughout the grass court season, falling in the opening round of the Mallorca Open, reaching the semifinals of the Eastbourne International and an early exit at the Wimbledon Championships jeopardized their chances of qualifying for the WTA Finals.
Two consecutive quarterfinal appearances in Cincinnati and the US Open saw Babos and Hlavackova gain some momentum entering the Asian Swing, and they managed to claim the title in Quebec City where they were the top seeds, facing little competition from the rest of the draw as they lost no more than three games in any set throughout the tournament.
Babos and Hlavackova followed it up with another triumph in Tashkent, extending their winning streak to eight as they look to end the season on a high note. Their ongoing run at the China Open sealed their qualification as they will face Makarova and Vesnina for a place in the final of the last Premier Mandatory event of the year.
They are the fifth pair to qualify for the prestigious tournament, with Wimbledon champions Makarova/Vesnina, US Open champions Chan/Hingis, the all-Czech pairing of Hradecka/Siniakova and the all-Australian pairing of Barty/Dellacqua all sealing their places in the tournament earlier in the year.
This will be Babos’ third consecutive appearance in Singapore with a third different partner, showcasing her ability to excel in doubles. Hlavackova is also rich in experience, having claimed a runner-up finish alongside Lucie Hradecka back in 2012. The 2017 WTA Finals will begin play on the 22nd of October, with this year’s doubles competition being a knockout format starting from the quarterfinals.