Krawczyk/Salisbury Win Roland Garros Mixed Doubles Title
Desirae Krawczyk and Joe Salisbury captured their first Grand Slam mixed doubles title in gritty fashion at Roland Garros, coming from a set down on Thursday to deny first-time pairing Aslan Karatsev and Elena Vesnina 2-6, 6-4, 10-5.
The American-British pair were overpowered in a one-sided first set, but hung tough to snatch the second and dominated the ensuing Match Tie-break.
For Krawczyk, the runner-up in women's doubles at Roland Garros last year alongside Alexa Guarachi, it is a first Grand Slam trophy of any kind. Salisbury adds the title to his 2020 Australian Open men's doubles crown with Rajeev Ram. He is also the first Briton to become a Roland Garros champion since 1982, when John Lloyd partnered Wendy Turnbull to the mixed doubles title.
Long-term partners Krawczyk and Salisbury both emerged from the United States college system: Krawczyk is an alumna of Arizona State University, while Salisbury played for the University of Memphis. Their previous best Grand Slam performance together was a semi-final run at the Australian Open in January, where they were edged in a Match Tie-break by Samantha Stosur and Matthew Ebden.
Karatsev and Vesnina had put together an eye-catching run through the draw to the final. Former doubles World No.1 Vesnina, who returned to tennis in February following maternity leave, was playing her first major since Roland Garros in 2018. Karatsev had never competed in a Grand Slam doubles draw before this fortnight, and was making his mixed doubles debut at any level.
The Russians' blend of power and experience had been set in motion back in February, when Karatsev asked Vesnina to team up with a berth at the Tokyo Olympic Games in mind - a goal that will now be much closer.
They showed off the sensational form that got them to the final in a dominant opening set. Karatsev unleashed his brutal weight of shot at almost every opportunity, racking up a stream of winners and passing shots that left Krawczyk and Salisbury reeling. Vesnina, meanwhile, brought the knowhow, finding angles and perfectly placed lobs that complemented Karatsev's pace.
Karatsev and Vesnina broke Salisbury to start the first set and Krawczyk to end it. Though Krawczyk and Salisbury found a better groove on serve in the second, by 4-4 the Russians had yet to face a break point - they had only lost six points on serve to that point.
But a sprinkling of forehand errors from both on Karatsev's serve opened the door - and Salisbury powered through it, finding a brilliant return winner to seal a crucial break. A contested call on a putative ace on set point in the next game was only a minor hurdle as the Briton comfortably forced a Match Tie-break.
Karatsev and Vesnina started it poorly, each making volley errors on the first two points and enabling Krawczyk and Salisbury to leap out to a 4/0 lead. Improved serving saw them cut the lead to 4/6, but the gulf was too great to make up. A brilliant Krawczyk return regained the momentum for her team, and the American closed out the final with consecutive unreturned serves.
- story courtesy WTAtennis.com