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July 12, 2021

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More glory for Hsieh at Wimbledon

Chinese Taipei’s Hsieh Su-wei claimed her third Wimbledon doubles title with a third different partner as she and Elise Mertens hung on to claim victory in a marathon final against Russian duo Veronika Kudermetova and Elena Vesnina on Saturday.

The Taiwanese-Belgian duo saved match points on the way to claiming a 3-6, 7-5, 9-7 win on Centre Court.

It was the second successive Wimbledon doubles crown for Hsieh who joined forces with recently-retired Barbora Strycova to win the title in 2019. She also won the title in 2013 with China’s Peng Shuai.

This time it was Mertens, the new No.1 ranked women’s doubles player, who she teamed up with to great effect.

Unseeded Kudermetova and Vesnina had two match points at 5-4 in the second set, the second one producing an incredible rally that Hsieh eventually won with a volley.

“Some of her volleys, I can’t do. She’s a magician,” Mertens said of Hsieh.

As the third set went on and on, the 35-year-old Hsieh then finished off a gripping contest with a backhand winner.

“That felt like seven hours,” Mertens said of the two-and-a-half hour battle on a packed Centre Court.

“There were nerves but we managed it well in the end. “We are very happy that we could close it out.”

With Peng, Hsieh also claimed the French Open title in 2014.

Mertens won the 2019 US Open and 2021 Australian Open titles with Aryna Sabalenka.

Also, top seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic became the first all-Croatian pair to capture a Grand Slam men’s doubles title when they outclassed Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos 6-4 7-6(5) 2-6 7-5.

On their second championship point, Mektic and Pavic made three unsuccessful attempts to smash the ball away for a winner before a running forehand long from the Spanish-Argentine duo handed the Croatians victory on a floodlit Centre Court.

Twenty years after Goran Ivanisevic hoisted the Challenge Cup at the All England Club after winning the men’s title in a rain-delayed Monday final, his compatriots claimed the doubles trophy at the grasscourt major.

“That ball falling long in the last point was the best feeling of my life,” Mektic, who was contesting his first major final with Pavic, said with a laugh.


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