Desirae Krawczyk, Joe Salisbury capture French Open mixed doubles title

The American-British pair were stretched to the limit by Elena Vesnina and Aslan Karatsev, but they survived the final in a match tiebreak.

Desirae Krawczyk and Joe Salisbury celebrate winning the French Open mixed doubles title; [email protected]

Desirae Krawczyk and Joe Salisbury defeated Elena Vesnina and Aslan Karatsev in a match tiebreak to lift the Roland Garros mixed doubles title. Krawczyk and Salisbury captured their first Grand Slam mixed doubles title in a thrilling encounter, overcoming a set deficit to deny first-time pairing Vesnina and Karatsev 2-6, 6-4, [10-5]. The American-British pair were outplayed in a one-sided first set, but came back strongly to bag the second before dominating the ensuing match tiebreak.

“We weren’t really expecting this,” said Salisbury after the match. “They killed us in the first set, and I think that it was a combination of sort of us getting better, then they dropped their level a bit. All week I think we have just gone into it relaxed, enjoying ourselves and seeing what happens. We have come out with a Grand Slam title.”

After being runner-up in women’s doubles at Roland Garros last year alongside Alexa Guarachi, it is a first Grand Slam trophy of any kind for Krawczyk. Salisbury adds the championship to his men’s doubles title with Rajeev Ram at the 2020 Australian Open. He is also the first British champion at Roland Garros since John Lloyd and Wendy Turnbull won the mixed doubles title in 1982.

The previous best Grand Slam performance together for long-term partners Krawczyk and Salisbury was a semifinal run at the Australian Open in January, when they were beaten in a match tiebreak by Samantha Stosur and Matthew Ebden. “I think we played 2019,” said Krawczyk. “At US Open, we played there. And then we played at Oz, and I just kept bugging him. We just kind of paired up. I didn’t know Joe before I came on tour. It’s been fun.”

Return to action

Former doubles World No.1 Vesnina returned to action in February following maternity leave. She was playing her first major since Roland Garros 2018. On the other hand, Karatsev had never competed in a Grand Slam doubles draw before this fortnight, and was making his mixed doubles debut at any level.

Vesnina and Karatsev caught the eye of the public with impressive performances en route to the final. In a commanding first set, they displayed the incredible form that had propelled them to the final. Karatsev used his strong shot practically every time he had the chance, building up a string of winners that left Krawczyk and Salisbury reeling. Meanwhile, Vesnina was finding angles and wonderfully placed lobs to match Karatsev’s speed.

The American-British pair were no match to them in the opening set, but things changed in the second. After a neck-to-neck battle, the crucial game awaited them at 4-4. The Russians were yet to face a break point and looked to be in cruise control up until that point. Few forehand errors on Karatsev’s serve presented the opportunity and the American-British pair took it, with Salisbury’s emphatic return winner securing a crucial break. They saw out the set to force it to a match tiebreak.

Vesnina and Karatsev started it poorly, and a couple of errors allowed Krawczyk and Salisbury to gain a 4-0 lead. With improved service points, they cut the lead to 6-4, but Krawczyk and Salisbury regrouped to close out the final to get their hands on the trophy.

Sportslumo Desk

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