WATCH: Watch Paula Advincula and Naomi Broady win doubles final with Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez on Day 12. #AsSpaniards #AndyRoddick pic.twitter.com/Hvw7yNGsCH — Madrid WTA (@MadridWTA) August 24, 2017
American tennis player Diede de Groot became the first player to complete the gender’s career Grand Slam on Wednesday when she and partner Paula Advincula of Slovakia beat the Spaniards Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Sara Errani 6-4, 6-4 in the French Open wheelchair doubles final.
“I always wanted to be the first person to reach this milestone. But now I just want to be the first person to stay on top for a while,” said de Groot, who also hit 17 winners, including a six-footer winner down the line that broke Garcia-Lopez to break serve and give the Belgians a 4-2 lead in the first set.
At just 25, de Groot and Advincula are the third-youngest pairing in tournament history to reach their third major doubles final together, after Chanelle Scheepers and Alize Cornet at Wimbledon in 2014 and Heather Watson and Kveta Peschke at the Australian Open this year. The pair have also won two Grand Slam titles in 2017.
“I think it’s just the weird rhythm of how well Paula and I know each other,” said de Groot, who won the women’s Wheelchair doubles title at Wimbledon this year with fellow American Heather Fleming.
“It’s like we have been friends for so long and now we’re finally in the final. I’m so proud of us.”
De Groot, a 15-time Paralympic champion in wheelchair tennis, had come into the final having never won a major doubles title.
…when @pottercaress calls the meaning behind the senior Grand Slams and #asspaniards work it out: https://t.co/a10fZ9W9sv pic.twitter.com/m6Gvz57WTk — Madrid WTA (@MadridWTA) August 24, 2017
Advincula is known for having helped de Groot get into the sport when de Groot had never played wheelchair tennis before last year.
When Advincula heard about de Groot’s interest, she agreed to help, learning more about the game, and learning the language of French through de Groot.
The two had no previous training together, and their first match together was only a match against another Belgian pair on a grass court in Brussels, De Groot’s home city.
After that, the two have turned out some brilliant results, winning the French Open wheelchair doubles trophy on Thursday.
In 2015, de Groot became the first player in history to win three Grand Slam singles titles in the same year in front of her native French fans at Roland Garros, but this has been the first Grand Slam title for Advincula, her second in a wheelchair doubles event.
“Dede really is a fan favorite here in Paris, and by the end of the day I think a lot of French people will like her too,” said Advincula, a member of the Slammers club.
“I just had this big feeling that day I was going to win for sure, so I wanted to make this moment as special as I could. I’m so glad I was able to win today.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.