The Mutua Madrid Open has crowned its new women’s doubles champions. The Russian team formed by Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova claimed the title after a thrilling final against French player Kristina Mladenovic and the Hungarian Timea Babos in three sets (2-6, 6-4, 10-8) in one hour and 34 minutes.
The Russians, the number 2 duo in the WTA rankings, were facing their opponents for the third time this year, the second in a final after the one they played at the Australian Open and where they lost to them. However, they managed to redeem themselves a few weeks later in the Indian Wells semifinals. This time, with another title at stake, they produced a memorable comeback after losing a first set in which the French and Hungarian pair were very aggressive on the return and three times broke the service of the Russians, who were struggling with that part of their game.
That uphill challenge would become even more pronounced at the start of the second set after losing a game on their serve to go two games down. The Russians then won the next four games in a row to stay in the match, however there was another anxious moment when they lost their advantage with another break of serve as the French player and Hungarian served at 5-4. However, the winners of three Grand Slams did not let the blow distract them, wrestling back the initiative to break back, sending the final to a super tie-back.
The scoreboard went back-and-forth until the Russian duo won four points in a row to take their third Premier Mandatory title since they became a doubles pairing. It was at the Mutua Madrid Open where they first played together in 2012: “It all started here,” they beamed as they lifted the trophy.