The 2016 US Open has already had its first batch of winners when the mixed doubles final was played on Friday. Croatia’s Mate Pavic and Germany’s Laura Siegemund – an unseeded duo – went on to claim the silverware in that category when they upset the seventh seeds and home favourites Rajeev Ram and Coco Vandeweghe, 6-4, 6-4 in 1 hour 13 minutes.
It is the first Major title of any kind for either player. But behind that news is a remarkable story. The two players, who can now call themselves US Open champions, did not even know each other before the Slam. Their situation was almost like a blind date with each having no idea who their mixed doubles partner would be even a little while before the draw was to be done.
The 23-year-old Pavic signed up as "Pavic and looking" 20 minutes before the deadline as he kept on hoping to land a partner for mixed doubles. In a fun conversation with ESPN Tennis, Siegemund even revealed that she had not even seen the young Split native prior to the US Open.
But they teamed up and the rest is history. The German admitted that after a week of joining forces they got to know each other much better and the chemistry was working perfectly.
They had never met before.— ESPNTennis (@ESPNTennis) September 9, 2016
They didn't know who one another was.
But now Siegemund-Pavic are in Mixed Dubs Final. pic.twitter.com/Kw6W3yjXCp
Both were having a banner year
It helped that both were having a banner year on the Tour. Pavic, currently ranked 36th, has been to a lot of men’s doubles finals this year, notching up 5 titles from a total of 10 finals on the main ATP Tour and the Challenger circuit combined. The 28-year-old Siegemund, a late bloomer, burst onto the scene at the Porsche Grand Prix in April where she reached the final in singles. She backed it up by clinching the title at Bastad, all of which helped her ranking to shoot up to 27th, earning her a 26th singles seeding at the US Open.
She bowed out in the third round to Venus Williams but brought all of her newfound confidence in mixed doubles as did Pavic.
The two embarked on a stunning title-winning campaign that saw them have five match wins on the trot without dropping a set. In the final, Ram and Vandeweghe were the more experienced of the two pairs. Ram had recently won the Olympic mixed doubles silver and his partner had reached the final in the same category this year at the Australian Open.
But the German-Croatian combine was unfazed and broke them thrice in the summit clash for an unbelievable ending to their New York sojourn. Sometimes having no burden of expectations does bring out some magic after all.