LONDON, Great Britain - Olympic Champions Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina endured a late start out on Centre Court, but made up for lost time with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Chan Hao-Ching and Monica Niculescu to take home third third Grand Slam title - their first at Wimbledon.
"We were waiting for this title with Katya," Vesnina said after the match. "When we lost at the French Open, we didn't play a good match there at all. We were sitting in the locker room, I told Katya, 'We have to win Wimbledon. We won French Open. We won it in 2013. We have to win Wimbledon.'
"It was our goal for the whole time that we've been playing. We had that close final two years ago, lost 7-5 in the third. We had it in our minds that we didn't finish something here. We need to finish it in the right way."
The ladies' doubles championship match followed a lengthy day of finals action, and so the four took to Centre Court under the lights with the roof closed.
"We were sitting and waiting. We knew that it's going to be five sets. We knew it was going to be drama at the end. We knew it was going to be something. Martina Navratilova told us, 'Do you know you girls have to finish till 11?' The score was 10-10. I was like, 'No way, they need to finish earlier.'
"After the first set, I looked at the clock. Okay, we're still fine."
Makarova and Vesnina last played the Wimbledon final in 2015, where they were a game from defeating eventual winners Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza. The Russians suffered a temporary split soon after due to Makarova's lower leg injury, but recovered in time to reach the Roland Garros final a year later, all leading up to their gold medal run at Rio de Janeiro.
Chan and Niculescu, by contrast, were playing just their second event together, though Chan was previously one half of a successful sister act with Chan Yung-Jan.
That experience gap proved costly against the No.2 seeds, who outsteadied in-form teams like Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua, and Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Kveta Peschke en route to the final, and quickly put on a doubles clinic for the Centre Court crowd.
"It felt a little bit comfortable, but still had quite a tough draw," Makarova said. "We had very tough opponents in the quarters. It was such a close match. Just one break in each set.
"So it was still 50/50. We didn't know until the end."
With the first point occurring at 9:28PM local time, the match lasted less than an hour after Makarova and Vesnina navigated through several tense early games.
"When we finished the match, I told Elena, 'It's 6-0, 6-0, but it doesn't seem like that.' It was very close match, especially second set. They had couple chances. But we were like, we won't give them anything. It's all ours."
"Of course the score doesn't look good," Vesnina added. "But the girls, they were fighting till the end. They were trying to change the match."
Chan and Niculescu had opportunities to get on the board late in the second set, but Makarova and Vesnina closed the door every time, employing effortless doubles strategies behind stellar serving to secure the title after 55 minutes on court.
"We knew if we give them a little chance, the momentum can change. They're in the final. They won five matches here, so they are good. They're in a good shape.
"We knew they will be a bit more nervous than us. We had this experience before. We were in the finals before. We took our advantage with this, our opportunity.
"We stepped in and we were confident. We were aggressive. We knew what we have to do with this and that in that moment."
The win puts the reigning BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global champions one major title away from the Career Slam, with the Australian Open the only one missing from their resumé after a win at the 2013 French Open and another at the 2014 US Open.
But the pair hope to continue channeling Olympic inspiration towards future victories.
"We're coaching each other during the match, supporting each other, and at the same time we're also giving the energy. It changed a bit in the last couple of years. Before, we were more quiet in doubles, even when we were celebrating our points. Now we're more loud.
"We were watching volleyball at the Olympics last year. They're celebrating every match, hugging each other. I'm like, 'We have to do that.'"
This article was first seen on www.wtatennis.com.