Max Mirnyi and Andrea Hlavackova pose with the mixed doubles trophy after defeating Abigail Spears and Santiago Gonzalez for the championship.
© Philip Hall
By McCarton Ackerman
WHAT HAPPENED: No. 7 seeds Andrea Hlavackova of Czech Republic and Max Mirnyi of Belarus are the first champions at this year’s US Open, fighting off three set points in the opening stanza on their way to claiming the mixed doubles title with a 7-6, 6-3 win over American Abigail Spears and Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico.
“Max was unbelievable today,” said Hlavackova. “He was covering 80 percent of the court, so it was easy for me to come up with some magic returns.”
Spears was playing in her first-ever Grand Slam final, but you wouldn’t have known it in the early stages of the match. Charging the net and playing aggressively, she fired two forehands at Mirnyi to help her team get an early break on Hlavackova’s serve for a 3-1 lead. With Mirnyi serving down four break points at 1-4, things were looking ominous for the No. 7 seeds. The Belarusian managed to get his team out of trouble with some big serves to hold, then ripped a backhand up the line on Spears’ serve to get the break back.
In the tiebreak, Gonzalez dumped a routine forehand volley into the net to send Hlavackova-Mirnyi up 6-3. Mirnyi was shockingly unable to win either of the set points on his own serve, but the Czech-Belarusian player converted on opportunity No. 3 when the American Spears missed a drop volley.
In the second set, Hlavackova-Mirnyi broke Spears to lead 3-1 and seemed to have the match firmly in their hands, but the Czech shockingly missed an overhead on the deciding game point on Mirnyi’s serve to donate the break of serve right back. But on the deciding game point with Spears serving at 3-4, the American threw in a tentative double fault and allowed Mirnyi to serve for the championship. The Belarusian closed out the title for his team on their second match point, firing a volley winner and hugging his partner in celebration.
WHAT IT MEANS: Hlavackova wins her first-ever mixed doubles title and first US Open title with this win, while Mirnyi wins his third US Open mixed doubles title and 10th Grand Slam doubles title overall. Hlavackova-Mirnyi will split the $150,000 winner’s check and Spears-Gonzalez will split $75,000 for their finalist showing.