Garcia/Mladenovic Capture First Title Together, Win Doubles
By: Nick McCarvel
The third time was the charm for Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic.
Sunday the French duo teamed up at the Volvo Car Open to win their first-ever WTA doubles title together, playing in their third final as a team. The No. 3-seeded team beat top seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova 7-5, 6-2. They had previously played in finals in Sydney and Dubai this year.
It's a second Charleston title for Mladenovic, who paired with Safarova to win here in 2013. She and Garcia have partnered up for the 2016 season with the hope of making a run at the Rio Olympics.
In four matches the French dropped just one set, in the quarterfinals against Daria Kasatkina and Elena Vesnina. They beat the talented Aussie team of Casey Dellacqua and Sam Stosur to start, then surprise semifinalists in Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Laura Siegemund, both in straight sets.
It's a third career doubles crown for Garcia and 13th for Mladenovic. Both players are just 22 years old.
"I think both teams played a great level of tennis,” Garcia said. “We have improved every day, and we try some different things, some new things, and it worked pretty well. We are enjoying what we are doing on court.”
"Working on [our team] is a process, a daily process to just try to join and make our games compete really well,” added Mladenovic. “We can say we are quite satisfied how it's going so far. Our third final today… we definitely have big goals week after week, and we're definitely looking forward to the future.”
Mladenovic said it was a tad strange to meet Safarova, a good friend and partner, on the same court where they won together three years ago.
"I had flashback memories to three years ago, because I [haven’t] come back since then. Unfortunately someone had to win, but… I’m also happy for her that they made it to the final.”