Top seeds Hsieh, Strycova in doubles final
February 28 2020 12:04 AM
Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko (left) and Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski (right) are congratulated by their opponents Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic (not pictured) after the win in the Qatar Total Open doubles semi-final yesterday. PICTURE: Noushad Thekkayil

By Syed Arhm Ahmad/Doha

Su-Wei Hsieh from the Chinese Taipei and Barbora Strycova from the Czech Republic beat the Czech team of Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova 6-4, 4-6, 12-10 in one hour and 35 minutes to move into the finals of the Qatar Total Open 2020 at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex yesterday evening.
The Czech duo started the match strong, breaking serve in the very first game of the match. Hsieh and Strycova, however, broke Siniakova’s serve in the 8th game of the match to level at 4-4 courtesy of a backhand volley unforced error from Krejcikova.
Hseih and Strycova broke the Krejcikova serve once again at 4-5 courtesy of a forced volley error from Siniakova, set up by a powerful low backhand pass from Hseih, allowing them to close the set 6-4. 
In the second set, the Czech duo once again broke in the very first game after a forced volley error from Hsieh. This solitary break would prove enough to wrap up the second set 6-4.
In the match tiebreak, the Czech duo opened up a 3-0 lead with some well-placed serves followed by volleys at the net. Hseih and Strycova would fight back to 5-3 with some nice passing shots and deep lobs that forced errors.
The Czech pair, however, would take control from that point onward, opening up a 7-3 lead. The top seeds once again fought back and won four straight points to level it up at 7-7 by tightening up their play and not conceding any unforced errors.
The last few points were exciting and hard fought but the top seeds used their experience to play the pressure points well. They converted their third match point with a backhand volley from Hsieh that forced an error from Krejcikova to win an enthralling match tiebreak 12-10. 
The match was played in blustery conditions and it appeared that it was difficult for both teams to control the ball at times but both teams still managed to keep their first serve percentage up, maintaining an impressive 78 percent for the match. At times, the players took the pace off the ball but placed their shots immaculately to hit winners from all parts of the courts. 
This marks another deep run this year in a tournament for the top seeds. It has already been an extremely busy 2020 for both Hsieh and Strycova having won the doubles title in Brisbane and Dubai, and also reaching the Australian Open finals. They have both also been competing in the singles draw for all of those tournaments as well. When asked about managing the workload of playing so much tennis to begin the year, Strycova said “It’s not easy but I’ve always loved doubles and I’ve always played doubles since I was young. It’s tough as you get older to manage both but I still enjoy playing high level tennis in both the singles and the doubles,” Hsieh said. “We both play singles and doubles so we try to enjoy it and relax and support each other during the year”.
In the other semifinal of the day, Latvian Jelena Ostapenko and Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski beat the second-seeded pairing of Hungarian Timea Babos and French Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 1-6, 10-7 in one hour and 19 minutes.

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