First-Time Team Meets Established Doubles Stars in Final
By: Nick McCarvel
The Volvo Car Open was just about to begin and Irina Khromacheva didn’t have a doubles partner to play with. Her countrywoman, Veronika Kudermetova, had planned to play with someone else, but when Irina reached out, Veronika thought it was a good idea.
And on the last day of the tournament, the first-time pairing will play for the title inside Volvo Car Stadium.
The Russians have taken out both the third- and second-seeded teams en route to the finals and Sunday morning they face the No. 4 team, Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Alicja Rosolka, pictured, who are playing in their combined 60th career doubles final.
It is, however, their first final together, as well, though the team played for a spell alongside one another in 2014 and 2015.
It will be the biggest final of the careers of Khromacheva, 23, and Kudermetova, 21. But if their effort so far this week is any indication, they won’t be intimidated.
Saturday late afternoon they won 6-3 6-3 over Lucie Hradecka and Andreja Klepac, both of whom had made the final here in the past. That followed their late-night win on Friday over Raquel Atawo and Katarina Srebotnik, Srebotnik the defending champ in Charleston (with a different partner).
Groenefeld/Rosolska have been untroubled this tournament, however, not dropping a single set and succumbing only nine games — and that’s in three matches played.
The first match was the most challenging, as well, against Americans Kaitlyn Christian and Abigail Spears, both established doubles players themselves. Groenefeld/Rosolska won 6-1 6-4.
It would be a crowning achievement for Groenefeld, 33, to win here: It’s her ninth appearance, but first time in the final.
There’s a lot of firsts happening out on the doubles court Sunday. But who gets their first Volvo Car Open title? Let's find out.