Who is the Greatest Female Doubles Team?February 08, 2016
Martina Hingis had success in women's doubles, but teaming up with Sania Mirza turned out to be special. Santina, as their fans fondly called them, beat Andrea HlavÃ¡ÄkovÃ¡ and Lucie HradeckÃ¡ for their first Australian Open title. They extended their match-winning streak to 36. Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Å afÃ¡Å™ovÃ¡ were the defending champions, but Å afÃ¡Å™ovÃ¡ withdrew due to bacterial infection. (Mattek-Sands teamed up with Sabine Lisicki, but the duo lost to Anastasia and Arina Rodionova of Australia in the second round.) The Aussie title put Team Santina on a familiar spot. They could be the fourth team to achieve a non-calendar year Grand Slam. Hingis would know the feeling, as she did it with Mirjana LuÄiÄ‡ and Jana NovotnÃ¡ in 1998.
Hingis and Mirza don't play singles anymore, which is one of the reasons behind their dominance in the WTA Tour. Their 10 titles last year included Wimbledon, the US Open, and the WTA Finals. They collected titles in Brisbane and Sydney last month. Could they be the greatest doubles team ever? Mattek-Sands and Å afÃ¡Å™ovÃ¡ will defend their title in Roland Garros this summer. A healthy Å afÃ¡Å™ovÃ¡ can be a threat to the duo, but Team Santina seems too good at the moment.
Here are the other three teams who have dominated the tour in the past:
Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver. An ideal doubles team must consists of a southpaw and a right-handed player. Navratilova and Shriver exceeded expectations, winning eight consecutive major titles from 1983 to 1985. They did completed the calendar Grand Slam, while Navratilova achieved the non-calendar year Grand Slam in the singles. Shriver had a respectable singles career, reaching as high as No. 3 in the WTA ranking.
Jana NovotnÃ¡ and Helena SukovÃ¡. They were almost unbeatable in 1990, winning 44 matches on a row. (Hingis and Mirza would be 8 matches shy of matching this whopping record.) The Czech pair were among the several players who achieved a career Grand Slam. They came so close of completing a calendar Grand Slam, losing to Navratilova and Gigi FernÃ¡ndez in the finals of the US Open. The parted ways afterwards.
Venus and Serena Williams. The sisters, who have 28 Grand Slam singles titles between them, won 13 major doubles titles. They achieved a non-calendar year Grand Slam on 2009-10. Their biggest achievement would happen in the Olympic stage, as they're the only team to win three gold medals in three different Olympics. Team Santina can't compete together in Rio de Janeiro, so a fourth gold for the Williams sisters is a possibility.
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