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Olaru and Savchuk win doubles title

14 January 2017, by Leigh Rogers

Romanian Raluca Olaru and Ukrainian Olga Savchuk are the Hobart International 2017 doubles champions. The pair won the title with a 0-6 6-4 10-5 victory over third seeds Gabriela Dabrowski of Canada and Zhaoxuan Yang of China in today’s final.

The match got off to an unusual start, with Yang’s opening serve landing in the middle of the net and causing it to collapse. The net was replaced and play soon resumed with Yang saving three break points.

It was the nerve-settling start the Canadian and Chinese pair needed, and they used their momentum to dominate their opponents in the opening set. They outplayed them from the baseline, and showed great touch at the net.

Olaru and Savchuk were rattled. Desperate to get into the match, they finally got on the scoreboard in the eighth game with Savchuk holding. It was the start of a dramatic momentum change, with the Ukrainian and Romanian pair winning three consecutive games to take the lead in the second set.

“It was a very difficult beginning for us. We didn’t play bad, they were just playing amazing,” Savchuk said.

“We just talked to each other and decided just to keep fighting for every ball. There’s nothing we can do when they play like this, we were just trying to stay in the game, stay focused and we did it.”

They clinched the second set, sending the final into a deciding match tiebreak. With the momentum in their favour, Olaru and Savchuk won it 10-5 to complete a sensational comeback.

“I was feeling much better in the match tiebreak than the second set,” Olaru admitted. “We came back, won the second set and really got into the game properly. I felt we had our chances (in the match tiebreak), so I was just trying to go for it, be positive and take it point-by-point.”

It is the pair’s second WTA title together, having also won Tashkent in 2008. They reunited this season and are off to a flying start, having also made the Shenzhen final last week.

Today’s title also marked Savchuk’s first WTA doubles title since 2014 and Olaru’s first since 2011.

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