NEW YORK (AP) — The only thing that could stop Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova in Grand Slam tournaments this year was COVID-19.
The Czechs won their third major in 2022 and completed a career Grand Slam on Sunday, rallying late to beat Caty McNally and Taylor Townsend 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 in the U.S. Open women's doubles final.
Krejcikova and Siniakova began the year by winning the Australian Open for the first time but couldn’t defend their 2021 French Open title after Krejcikova tested positive for COVID-19 and withdrew after losing her opening singles match.
They then won Wimbledon for the second time and now own six major titles.
“I think it’s a really special feeling that we are part of history right now,” Krejcikova said. “But, I mean, then also the other hand, it’s such amazing achievement, but then the career is still going on and we still want to add some more. We still want to keep improving and keep getting better.”
The Americans were playing together in a major for the first time after Townsend returned this year following the birth of her son in March 2021. They couldn't match the experience of the Czechs, who began playing together as juniors.
“We didn’t play so many tournaments this year. It’s so exciting that we did so well in Grand Slams,” Siniakova said. “I would just say that we are trying to improve each other, and it’s working.”
Seeded third in Flushing Meadows, they didn't appear like they would win after McNally and Townsend built a 4-1 lead in the second set. The Americans went back ahead 5-4, but the Czechs won 12 of the final 15 points to take the set, then rolled to a 4-0 lead in the third.
“I felt as we took the second set, I think from there on we started to be a better team,” Krejcikova said. “I’m really, really happy that we won this final Slam for us that we were missing.”
Though disappointed by the loss, Townsend said it gave her confidence for next year after playing such important matches again so soon.
“I’m just super motivated to continue on and show my son, like, we were so close,” Townsend said. “Like, you know, when you look back, you’re so close. It didn’t happen this time, but that doesn’t mean that you stop.”
It was the second straight loss in the U.S. Open final for McNally, who partnered last year with Coco Gauff.
Siniakova will replace Gauff — who with partner Jessica Pegula lost in the first round at Flushing Meadows as the No. 2 seeds — at the top of the WTA doubles rankings. Krejcikova will climb to No. 2 and McNally will vault from No. 22 back into the top 10.
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