Barbora Kreychikova and Rajeev Ram made the perfect odd pair at the Australian Open, adding the 2021 mixed doubles title to the one they shared in 2019.
For Kreychikova, these are three in a row. She and Ram controlled from the start in a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Australian wild cards Matt Ebden and Sam Stosur on Saturday.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Kreichikova said. “I’m so grateful we were able to get back together.”
Krejcikova won her first Australian title with Ram two years ago and with Croatia’s Nikola Mektic last year.
“We had a year off as a team, but she didn’t have a break – she won this thing last year, so it’s been three years in a row for her,” Ram said. “Amazing work. Pleasure to play with, always. “
It was a virus – unrelated to COVID-19 – that temporarily ruined the successful partnership a month before the 2020 Australian Open.
“I was sick here in December of that year and I didn’t think it was a good idea to try mixed doubles,” said Ram, who won the men’s doubles title last year with Joe Salisbury.
This puts him in a doubles double dispute in Melbourne Park. The 36-year-old American and Salisbury will try to defend the doubles final on Sunday against Croatia’s Ivan Dodig and Slovakia’s Filip Polashek.
Kreichikova missed her chance in the doubles when she and her Czech counterpart Katerina Sinyakova lost the women’s doubles final on Friday to second-placed Elise Mertens and Arina Sabalenka.
She said she got it out of her mind as soon as possible, aiming for another title.
Kreichikova and Ram faced just one breakthrough point and it took less than an hour to beat Ebden and Stosur, who were previous title holders but with different partners.
When Ebden served to put the Australian pair on the scoreboard in the fifth game, it was still a long way to go. It turned out to be too much, as Kreichikova and Ram finished it in just 22 minutes.
Fans who remained after Naomi Osaka’s victory over Jennifer Brady in the women’s singles final, hoping to witness the triumph of the home helmet, vocally tried to lift Ebden and Stosur. But that didn’t work.
The Australian pair reduced their errors in the second set and seemed to return to the match, but when Ram easily maintained service in the ninth game, this immediately put pressure on Ebden’s service.
A few more mistakes left Ebden and Stosur staring at the match point. And when Ebden pulled out a forehand wide after a long exchange at the baseline, it was all over in just 59 minutes.
Kreichikova said the partnership with Ram worked because of their approach to the game. “I just feel like we get along on and off the court,” she said. “It’s really light and it works.”