By Julien Pretot
PARIS (Reuters) – Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic enjoyed some sweet revenge following their U.S. Open heartbreak as they retained their French Open doubles title to claim their fourth Grand Slam as a pair on Sunday.
Hungary’s Babos and local favourite Kristina Mladenovic, who were withdrawn from the U.S. Open due to COVID-19 protocols, have now won four of the last 11 women’s majors with a 6-4 7-5 victory against Desirae Krawczyk and Alexa Guarachi in the Roland Garros final.
Mladenovic and Babos were withdrawn from the tournament ahead of the second round at Flushing Meadows after the Frenchwoman had to stay in quarantine in her hotel room following a game of cards with Benoit Paire, who tested positive for COVID-19.
“Just a few weeks after being injustly disqualified from the U.S Open, being here with you and with this trophy is something very strong,” Mladenovic told Babos in her post-match speech after the pair lifted the Simonne Mathieu Cup.
“Physically, mentally, I’m exhausted today. You carried me all the way, I’m proud to have you as a partner.”
Mladenovic now has five women’s doubles titles to her name after also winning the French Open with compatriot Caroline Garcia.
Sunday’s final was an intense contest as nerves played their part, with 10 of the 22 games going against serve.
After an early trade of breaks, second seeds Mladenovic and Babos decisively stole 14th seeds American Krawzcyk and Chilean Guarachi’s serve for 5-3 and bagged the opening set in 50 minutes.
Babos, who won all her women’s doubles major titles with Mladenovic, served for the match at 5-4 after five games went against serve but the pair were broken again, only for Mladenovic to wrap it up with a forehand winner down the line after yet another break.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Christian Radnedge)