Sestini Hlaváčková’s farewell will have to wait – doubles pair H+H move on to next round!
35-year-old Andrea Sestini Hlaváčková played her first competitive doubles match at the Livesport Prague Open in nearly four years and after a 5:7, 6:2 and 10:3 win, it won’t be her last, as she moves on to the next round with partner Lucie Hradecká. “We started poorly, which I expected from my side, but as soon as we gained momentum, we started to enjoy the match. We know what to expect from each other,” said Sestini Hlaváčková at the post-match press conference. The doubles pair managed to fend off Anastasia Dețiuc and Miriam Kolodziejová on the Sparta Prague Tennis Club’s centre court, with Sestini Hlaváčková’s two-year-old daughter Isabella supporting her mother from the stands.
The winners of 13 doubles titles, two of
which Grand Slam titles, reflected on their opening match of the tournament
with Hradecká saying: “It was a shame we didn’t win on the break point in the
first game, we would have been calmer throughout the rest of the match.”
From that point their deficit rose: “We started poorly, which I expected from my side, but when it was 1:4 I started to get anxious. But once we won a few balls I started enjoying myself more. I didn’t believe we could win, but Lucie won several games all by herself and got us back into the match. Even when I was completely out, she knew how to approach the match. It was all her work. I know how it is when you’re forced win each rally because your partner isn’t playing her best, but we know what to expect from each other by now,” said Sestini Hlaváčková praising her doubles partner.
Duo H+H, as they are dubbed, tied the first set against Detiuc a Kolodziejové 4:4 and averted a set point later on, but at 5:6 their opponents finally took the first set.
But losing the first set didn’t shake the confidence of Sestini Hlaváčková and Hradecká, if anything, it motivated them for the comeback. In set two the duo found their groove, tapping into their most successful years together and only allowed their opponents to win two games. “We calmed down, as did the weather – the cool breeze calmed our game and everything ended well,” said Sestini Hlaváčková after winning their opening match of the tournament through a super tiebreak.
“It was great playing with Andy. It took us a while to find each other, it wasn’t just her, I also didn’t feel great in the opening few games,” said 37-year-old Hradecká, current World No. 21 in doubles, “but then it was amazing. It was like riding a bike after a long time – everything comes flooding back, you remember how the other reacts, where to be, everything. You don’t forget things like that after playing as many games as we have together,” she added smiling.
The last game of the popular doubles pair will have to wait at least two days. “I am really looking forward to the second match of my last tournament. We will enjoy it and smile, be it on Wednesday or Thursday,” said Hradecká.
“I would prefer Thursday. I think it’s obvious why,” said Sestini Hlaváčková laughing, “I would like to give my body some proper rest. I definitely won’t be training on Tuesday, I’ll spend the entire day with my physio,” added the mother of a two-year-old after playing her first competitive doubles match in nearly four years frankly.
“It was the first time she’s seen me play. It was an amazing feeling,” said Sestini Hlaváčková, saying that she could also hear her two-year-old supporting her from the stands on numerous occasions throughout the match, “she shouted: Go, Mum! I’ve been teaching her it since yesterday, it was really sweet.” Her husband Fabrizio was also in the stands to support his wife during her last competitive tournament.
Photo: LIVESPORT PRAGUE OPEN / Pavel Lebeda (sport-pics.cz)