Amidst the headline grabbing historic singles victories by Novak Djokovic and Garbine Muguruza, the French women pair of Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic created their own little niche by winning the women’s doubles crown at the Roland Garros. It was a rare triumph for the home nation and there was no dearth of support for the two women. Garcia/Mladenovic defeated the Russian pair of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina in the 3-set final on Sunday. Earlier on Saturday, Spain cornered a bigger glory. After Garbine Muguruza upset the world no.1 and defending champion Serena Williams of USA in the championship game, another Grand Slam title fell in Spain’s bag, when the men’s doubles pair of Feliciano and Marc Lopez defeated USA’s Mike and Bob Bryan.
It has been 45 years since a French women’s pair won the doubles crown at the Roland Garros. In 1971, Gail Chanfreau and Francoise Durr teamed together and won the women’s doubles Grand Slam in Paris. Chanfreau/ Durr had also won the women’s doubles title in 1970. There have been instances of French women players winning the doubles but they had non-French partners playing with them. One was Gail Lovera, who partnered with Uruguay’s Fiorella Bonicelli to win in 1976 and the last was Mary Pierce, playing with Martina Hingis in 2000.
On Sunday after Novak Djokovic won his first ever singles crown at Roland Garros, Frenchwomen Caroline Garcia/Kristina Mladenovic stepped on the Philippe Chatrier to take on Russians Ekaterina Makarova/Elena Vesnina for the title. The fifth seeded French pair began well and took the first set 6-3 but lost the second 2-6. Since it was the final, the decision didn’t come from match tiebreak and the pairs had to go for the regular set. The decider went on serves for the first eight games before Garcia/Mladenovic broke Vesnina’s service in the ninth game. Now it was left to Garcia to serve out for the title and she didn’t disappointed the home fans. The Frenchwomen forked out a 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 victory to the delight of the motley Philippe Chatrier crowd. The current tennis season has been extremely fruitful for Garcia/Mladenovic, who have won four titles at Charleston, Stuttgart, Madrid and now Paris. The pair is eying to win women’s doubles gold for France in the upcoming Rio Olympic Games. It was a lucky day for France as they also won the Boy’s Singles title, when 17-year old Geoffrey Blancaneaux defeated Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime 1-6, 6-3, 8-6 in a hard-fought final.
On Saturday, men’s doubles crown was taken by Spain’s Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez, who played against USA’s legendary doubles team of Mike and Bob Bryan. The Bryan twins were aiming for their 17th doubles Grand Slam title but Lopez/Lopez denied them. The Spaniards were in great spirits after their younger compatriot Garbine Muguruza had defeated world no.1 Serena Williams in the women’s final. Feliciano/Marc used unorthodox formation to frustrate the Bryans in the opening set. On several occasions, Feliciano showed tremendous reflexes in net play and that kept the Bryans off-balance. They broke the Americans’ service in the first game and held their own service to lead 2-0. There wasn’t much the Bryan bothers could do as the Spaniards won the first set 6-4. In the second set, however, the Bryans took a different stance and enhanced their game. They held set points at 5-4 and 6-5 but Feliciano/Marc denied them by taking the set to the tiebreak. Finally, the Bryans won the second set tiebreak and the match went to the deciding third set. There were breaks of serves in the first three games before Feliciano/ Marc took a decisive lead. Feliciano/Marc finally emerged victorious at 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 after 2½ hours and along with Muguruza they helped in bringing two Grand Slams to Spain on a single day. This was the first men’s doubles title for an all-Spanish pair after Sergio Casal/Emilio Sanchez won here in 1990.
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