MATTEK-SANDS & SAFAROVA STORM TO WUHAN TITLE, CONFIRM SINGAPORE RETURN

Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova are Singapore-bound after brushing aside Sania Mirza and Barbora Strycova in an hour to win the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open.

WUHAN, ChinaBethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova completed a dominant week together with their seventh WTA title, outclassing Sania Mirza and Barbora Strycova to win the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open.

A sparkling performance saw Mattek-Sands and Safarova break six times to wrap up a 6-1, 6-4 victory after a fraction over an hour on court.

The result continues a memorable end to the season for the American-Czech duo, whose success in China follows on from victory at the US Open. This points haul has not only sent both players shooting up the rankings, but more importantly secures them a return to the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.

The only wobble came with the finishing line in sight, Safarova surrendering her hitherto faultless serve to offer Strycova the chance to level the second set at 5-5. However, the No.5 seeds nipped the comeback in the bud, swatting away a couple of opportunistic volleys to close out the match.

“I think we had an amazing match today,” Safarova said. “We came out strong from the beginning. We returned great, served great, took their time away. That was the right strategy.”

The tone was set on the very first point of the match, Safarova firing a backhand past Strycova. Sensing an early opportunity, on the following point Mattek-Sands swept an inviting ball past the stranded Czech. They soon had the break and went from strength to strength, finding an answer for every question posed by the No.3 seeds.

“We went over our game plan and we just upped our game. So whether our opponents played well or didn’t play well, we were going to stick to our game,” Mattek-Sands added. “But I think, like Lucie said, we just took away their time and that’s what we did.”

Mattek-Sands and Safarova will hope to replicate this form in Singapore, where they have unfinished business. Last year, their challenge came to a premature conclusion, injury dashing their hopes in the round robin stage.

“It’s just awesome [to qualify]. we’ve been there last year but were a little bit injured and so it wasn’t the greatest performance,” Safarova said.

“But it’s amazing to make it again,” Mattek-Sands added. “Singapore is obviously is the best of the best. We literally just found out right after the match that we qualified so it’s still sinking in.”

MATTEK-SANDS & SAFAROVA SLIDE TO THIRD STRAIGHT TITLE AT CHINA OPEN

Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova ousted top seeds Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic in the Beijing final, cementing their status as the team to beat in Singapore.

BEIJING, China – No.5 seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova won their 16th match in a row to capture a third straight title in the finals of the China Open, upsetting top seeds Caroline Garciaand Kristina Mladenovic, 6-4, 6-4. Both teams will be ones to watch heading into the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.

Watch live action from Beijing on WTA Live powered by TennisTV!

“It’s amazing, our third tournament in a row,” Safarova said as Mattek-Sands threw in a “Team Bucie!” cheer.

“We’re really on a roll, had some really great matches here, tough ones. We played great, both of us in the final,” turning to her partner to add,  “Thank you B!”

The elated pair fell into giggles.

“I’ll play next to you any time, Lucie!”

Mattek-Sands and Safarova were a game from elimination against the French in the final of the US Open, but the 2015 Australian Open and French Open champions turned the tables on the reigning Roland Garros winners and have been unbeatable ever since, triumphing in Flushing and the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open heading into Beijing.

“We had a lot of fun, like we do at every tournament,” Mattek-Sands said of their weeks in Wuhan and Beijing. “We have fun on and off the court, from the warm-ups to the dinners and foot massages. We had a lot of fun here in China and we’re looking forward to coming back.”

Their win in Wuhan guaranteed a second straight appearance at the WTA Finals, and the pair will be aiming to erase tough memories from last year, when the two were forced to withdraw in the round robin stage due to injury.

“Thanks to the Chinese fans because they were amazing,” Safarova said. “They came with all kinds of great pictures and presents, and so it was really nice and special.”

The Sweet Partnership of Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova

In the game of tennis, nothing should be taken for granted and your next opponent or comrade may bring you defeat or success. Bethanie and Lucie blended for the success part.

She came from a large family back in Rochester, Minnesota of two brothers – Chad and Andrew, a younger sister Alison and of course, her twin sister Sania. By the age of five, her dad Tim, an accountant started enriching her life with tennis when she rallied her interest in this racquet sport. But Bethanie loved all sports and was highly competitive, quite ‘tomboy-like’, giving the Mattek family encouraging hopes of having a tennis personality in the family. She turned pro at 14 and soon after created her niche in thinking ‘out of the box’ with her tennis court attire pushed her way into competitive tennis.

Whereas this little lady at the age of three took a interest in tennis and was encouraged by her family and sister, Veronika to dig into the game, if that’s what she wanted in the Czech Republic. Lucie Safarova was a rather quieter persona than her doubles partner but strong willed and determined to learn this sport well. She decided to ride the trails to being a pro and at 15 took the plunge.

Before Bethanie and Lucie came together in 2015 for doubles, just last year, they ahd other partners with Bethanie pairing with Coco Vandeweghe, Sania Mirza and a feaw others whereas Lufie Safarova partnered with friend and WTA’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. But the history of the other partners wasn’t to be and last year Bethanie and Lucie joined talents and strategies to have immediate success. The 2015 Australian Open doubles title was very significant for it was the first doubles title they’d win together, the first Grand Slam and Lucie’s maiden doubles title. The Mattek-Sands/Safarova duo kept their spark alive and months later won the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix Doubles title in April in Stuttgart, Germany over the tough Sara Errani/Roberta Vinci legendary team. The following month they became hot on the red clays of The French Open to win their second Grand Slam, after being down a set over the duet of Shredova/Dellacqua. It seems that to win a championship you have to connect personally and professionally and Bethanie and Lucie had that quality. They hit the hardcourt season and out in Montreal won over the Caroline Garcia/Karolina Srebotnik team at The Rogers Cup, where their ATP contemporaries play their matches in Toronto, Canada.

But all of these peaks didn’t come to the ladies without some pits in their career. It was in 2012 that Bethanie started experiencing chronic fatigue, nothing like the usual when working on tour. She was examined and diagnosed as having severe food allergies to 26 items that she loved so dearly but had to give up. Then in 2014, while playing against Madison Keys, she developed a lumbar spine injury and had to retire from the match and tournament; later she endured hip surgery and a fractured left thumb before her successful stint in grabbing a title at The French Open with Lucie. Safarova unfortunately had a few pits of her own as she had an abdominal muscle issue and last year missd the whole of the ‘Asian Swing’ season with a bacterial infection that knocked her out and sent her to the hospital, getting IVs and rest as well as not being able to eat or drink at all.

The pair has had it good this year – 2016 and captured titles at the Miami Open, the US Open and the Asian Swing events of Wuhan Open and Beijing’s China Open. “We have fun on and off the court from the warm-ups to dinners and foot massages. We’re looking forward to comng back” each has said. Lucie is resting up while her partner, Bethanie is playing in the Hong Kong Open, spinning and dicing her way to perhaps a new singles level in China. They have to admit that it was a surprise the casual partnership has gone so long and been quite successful. They will continue their pairing to slice into the few WTA tournaments left, ending this lovely 2016 season on a pleasant and comfortable note!

MATTEK-SANDS & SAFAROVA WIN WUHAN DOUBLE

Two matches played, two matches won. No.5 seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova are into the semifinals at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open digging deep to survive a long day.

Published September 29, 2016 12:13

WUHAN, China – The No.5 seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova dug deep to pull off a doubleheader at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, winning two matches in a day to book their spot into the semifinals.

Watch live action from Wuhan on WTA Live powered by TennisTV!

With rain washing out the doubles action yesterday, Mattek-Sands and Safarova played both their second round and quarterfinal match today, but showed no signs of fatigue as they powered through both in straight sets.

“We played really well today, especially against two tough teams where we had to be playing our best,” Mattek-Sands said after their quarterfinal. “We had a court change, where we went from hot and humid outside in the beginning of the week, to cold and rainy and playing indoors. But we got it done today.”

The pair started out the day with an hour-and-a-half battle against Chinese wildcards Zhu Lin and Han Xinyun. They were pushed in the second set but saved set points to advance 6-4, 7-6(7). They kept things tidier in the quarterfinal, powering past Aleksandra Krunic and Katarina Siniakova 6-3, 6-4.

By virtue of reaching the semifinal, Safarova and Mattek Sands improve their position on the doubles Road To Singapore leaderboard. The pair currently sit at No.7, and are among the five teams that could grab three spots into the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, pending other results.

“Of course, Singapore is our goal. We are fighting for it and trying to take it step by step,” Safarova said. “We have tough matches ahead, but we are playing well and we are ready.”

Mattek-Sands added: “It’s the best of the best, the best teams get to go. I think it’s an honor to make it here in the end. At this point, everyone is fighting for a spot and the rankings are pretty close.”

Joining Mattek-Sands and Safarova in the quarterfinals are the No.2 seeds Chan Hao-Ching and Chan Yung-Jan, as well as Peng Shuai and Christina McHale.

Lucie Safarova and Bethanie Mattek-Sands Qualify for Singapore

Lucie Safarova and Bethanie Mattek-Sands booked their ticket to the WTA Finals in Singapore after clinching the women’s doubles title at Wuhan Open in China.

The Czech-American combination, seeded fifth, put up a dominating show to topple their third-seeded opponents Sania Mirza and Barbora Strycova 6-1 6-4 in the title-clash.

“It’s the year-end championships, the best of the best. Only the best teams get to go, so I think it’s an honor to make it there in the end,” Mattek-Sands was quoted by WTA Tennis.

Safarova and Mattek Sands have now been undefeated in their last 11 matches, with the streak commencing from their US Open triumph last month.

They have become the fourth pair to make the cut to the year-ending Championships, which entails only the best eight pairs of the season.

The other three to have qualified are Kristina Mladenovic/Caroline Garcia, Sania Mirza/Martina Hingis, and Ekaterina Makarova/Elena Vesnina.

The tournament is scheduled to be held from October 23-30.