Hradecká and Makarova win the doubles title in Cincinnati.

Appearing together for the first time in seven years, Lucie Hradecká and Ekaterina Makarova have won their first joint title at the Western & Southern Open tournament after emerging victorious in a two-set final match against Elise Mertens and Demi Schuurs.

Cincinnati, Ohio, US — Lucie Hradecká and Ekaterina Makarova are one of the most successful tennis duos. When they arrived at the Western & Southern Open this week, the duo held 34 titles between them and continued their successful careers on Sunday with their first joint victory of the tournament: seeded No.7, Hradecká and Makarova emerged victorious against the duo seeded No.6, Elise Mertens and Demi Schuurs, in two rounds with results 6:2 and 7:5.

Hradecká and Makarova have appeared together only once, seven years ago in Luxembourg where they reached the final in 2011 and lost to Iveta Benešová and Barbora Strýcová. This victory was the second of the season for Makarova and the first without her usual partner, Elena Vesnina, who has not been playing due to injury, since Makarova’s victory in Fes in 2009 alongside Alisa Kleybanova. Hradecká won the title after a long break which lasted since 2016 when she emerged victorious in the Moscow tournament alongside Andrea Sestini Hlaváčková.

The Russo-Czech duo dominated the court in the first half, breaking Mertens and Schuurs three times and finishing the set in 25 minutes. The Belgian-Dutch duo have, however, been in top form in 2018, Schuurs in particular who has just come from a victory in a tournament in Montreal alongside Ashleigh Barty and who has reached her eighth final of the season; the duo resisted and led the second set with a 4:2 result.

Hradecká and Makarova have spent the entire week demonstrating their ability to rally at crucial moments, having emerged victorious in match tie-breaker against Johanna Konta and Jeļena Ostapenko in the second round and against the No.2 seeded duo Tímea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic in the quarterfinal. In this match, they consistently made up ground against their opponents, taking five of the last six games of the match.

«The final was very tough, our opponents played an excellent game», said Makarova after the match. «I want to thank my team, my coach, and my physiotherapist — we had a great week and I’m looking forward to the future.»

The 30-year-old was also pleased to get back at Barty and Schuurs for beating her in the final of the tournament in Montreal. «Demi beat me last week but it was nice to be on the winning side this time.»

Hradecká, meanwhile, was simply happy to return to the game after a knee injury which prevented her from playing in the first half of the year.

«I can’t describe how it feels to return to the court and I want to thank Ekaterina for playing with me this week.»

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