Heading into the US Open, Lucie Safarova and Bethanie Mattek-Sands had lost their last four matches together including first round losses at both the French Open and Wimbledon. Pairing up at the US Open for the first time since Wimby, Lucie and Beth have only gone and won the whole caboodle! They’ve made a habit of coming out of nowhere to triumph having won the Australian Open last year in their first tournament together and now they have won their third Slam together at the US Open. There were some tough matches along the way…
R1: Safarova and Mattek-Sands d. Aoyama and Ninomiya, 6-4 6-2
R2: Safarova and Mattek-Sands d. Arruabarrena and Savchuk, 6-4 6-1
R3: Safarova and Mattek-Sands d. Goerges and Pliskova, 2-6 7-5 6-3
QF: Safarova and Mattek-Sands d. Muhammad and Townsend, 6-1 6-2
SF: Safarova and Mattek-Sands d. Makarova and Vesnina, 6-2 7-6(4)
F: Safarova and Mattek-Sands d. Garcia and Mladenovic, 2-6 7-6(5) 6-4
And the final was a tough one. Garcia and Mladenovic were the better pair for a set and a half, strolling through the opener and getting the break at 4-4 in the second set to bring up an opportunity to serve for it at 6-2 *5-4. It was a shame to see such a collapse from the French pair as Garcia was broken to love in a really shaky game. Garcia and Mladenovic saved set point on one of the best points of the match to force a tiebreak but Safarova and Mattek-Sands were gaining control and forced the decider.
Safarova and Mattek-Sands earnt the early break in the third set and held onto it for the rest of the set with both looking more solid on serve and reading each other’s games better. Lucie produced some incredible reflexes at the net, earning a leaping celebration from Beth after one mad point!
Lucie served for the Championship at *5-4… Beth produced some clutch play up at the net as Lucie sealed it on match point with a beaut of a lefty serve out wide.
I do feel for Caroline and Kristina who looked gutted at the end but i’m happy for Lucie and Beth. It’s been a tough year for both; Lucie’s ranking has dropped significantly in singles (#6 this time last year to now #44). While Lucie seems to have physically recovered from the worrying rheumatic fever that sidelined her at the start of the year, it’s been a struggle! Lucie though has battled on admirably… one of the reasons I am a fan!
Still, there have been wonderful highlights for Lucie in 2016 – winning a Slam in doubles, a bronze medal from Rio, a singles title in her home country and another doubles title with Beth in Miami. It’s also been a super time for Beth too who won a gold medal in Rio.
I loved witnessing their joy at the end, it’s infectious! Their speeches were wonderful and it is obviously an emotional day. I’ll leave you with some tweets from the match…