April 14, 2024

Open Court

MORE TENNIS THAN YOU'LL EVER NEED

Deep Doubles Dive: Kichenok “family feud” completely one-sided

The Kichenok twins square off in mixed at the 2020 Australian Open

If you’re looking for an obscure but absolutely legit and surprising stat, look no further than the Kichenok twins.

Lyudmyla and Nadiia, doubles specialists from Ukraine, have mostly played together during their long careers.

But not always; sometimes you need a break even from your alter ego.

So as another pair of sisters – Hao-Ching Chan and Latisha Chan – square off against each other in Birmingham Wednesday, we did a bit of a deep dive into these sister feuds.

Chan vs Chan goes to big sis

Latisha Chan leads her sister Hao-Ching 4-2 in their head to head.

(Notably, the two first paired up together all the way back in 2005, when Hao-Ching, four years younger than her sister, was just 14).

Hao-Ching has won the last two – in mixed doubles at the 2019 US Open, and in women’s doubles in 2018 – also in Birmingham.

But Latisha won the first four – at the 2018 Australian Open, at the US Open in 2017, when she was playing with Martina Hingis, in mixed doubles at Roland Garros in 2015, and in the final at the Kuala Lumpur WTA event in 2014.

As for singles, they’ve never met in the pros. But they did play once in the juniors, with older sister Latisha dropping a couple of bagels on her little sister, who had just turned 13.

Nadiia has full Kichenok bragging rights

As for the Kichenok twins, who turn 30 next month, it’s been completely one-sided.

And it’s not what you’d think, with Lyudmyla currently ranked No. 22 in the WTA doubles rankings, and Nadiia No. 52.

They have met seven times, going back to 2017.

And Nadiia (and her various partners) have won every single time.

She’s 7-0.

They have met six times in women’s doubles, most recently at Roland Garros and Chicago last season.

Once, they played in mixed.

That was at the 2020 Australian Open, where Nadiia and Rohan Bopanna defeated Lyudmyla and Austin Krajicek 7-5, 4-6, 10-4 and ended up making the quarterfinals.

Here’s what that looked like.

Nadiia is flipping the script from their junior rivalry; Lyudmyla won all three of their junior singles matches in straight sets.

They’ve also played eight times in singles in the pros, the last in 2016.

Lyudmyla won the first four; Nadiia won the last four.

Despite being exactly the same age, you could argue Nadiia is a late bloomer.

The most epic sibling clash ever

Neither of those two family rivalries can probably come close to the biggest sib vs sib match ever witnessed by Open Court.

And it was one that definitely got overshadowed by other events of the day.

It was the 2008 Wimbledon mixed doubles final, which was going on over on No. 1 Court at the same time as the epic Roger Federer – Rafael Nadal was happening on Centre Court.

You remember the one; it was so dark by the end that the trophy ceremony looked candlelit.

But – little-remembered fact – even after that trophy ceremony, and as dark as it was, the mixed doubles final was STILL going on when we hustled across to the other court.

In the end, Bob Bryan and Samantha Stosur defeated Mike Bryan and Katarina Srebotnik, 7-5, 6-4.

No word on what would have happened, had it gone to a decider.

In fact, who can be 100% sure that they even gave the trophy to the right Bryan brother – that’s how dark it was.

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