WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND — WIMBLEDON, England -- It was only fitting on the last day of this extended Wimbledon that history would be made one more time when Martina Hingis became the youngest champion in the tournament's history.
Up 4-1 in the third set of the women's doubles finals when play resumed yesterday morning, Hingis and her partner, Helena Sukova, who were seeded eighth, won two straight games to take the championship, beating No. 4 seeds Meredith McGrath and Larisa Neiland, 5-7, 7-5, 6-1.
It was their first Grand Slam title as partners and, with the victory, Hingis, 15 years and 282 days old, became the youngest-ever Wimbledon champion -- by three days. She eclipsed Lottie Dod of Great Britain, who won the women's singles title in 1887.
"I always want to have this title, because I have broken so many records already," said Hingis, every bit a teen-ager, when asked about being Wimbledon's youngest titlist. "It's what you want to do. If you have a chance to go for a record, why not?"
Hingis also became the first Swiss woman to win a Wimbledon title and only the second Swiss citizen of either sex, joining Heinz Gunthardt, currently Steffi Graf's coach, who was part of the winning doubles team here in 1985.
"It's great to win a Wimbledon title," Hingis said. "It's a big goal to win Wimbledon, even if it's doubles."
Hingis already has one entry in the Wimbledon record books. She became the youngest junior champion in 1994, winning the title at 13 years, 276 days.
It was that year that everyone took notice of the girl named after Martina Navratilova and began expecting big things from her on the pro tour.
This tournament was only the third time she and Sukova have played together. In three tries, they have recorded a finals loss in Berlin, a quarterfinals loss at the French Open and now a title. All three of those matches were played against McGrath and Neiland.
"We have a saying in Czech, that the third time is the best," said Sukova, 31. "You know, third time lucky."
Hingis and Sukova admitted they might not have felt so lucky before coming back from 2-5 in the second set, but by the time their match was called because of darkness Sunday, they were confident.
"We were up 4-1 in the third," said Hingis. "So we went out to dinner and celebrated winning. Yes, anything could have happened with two games left, but we knew we had a very good chance, so we just went out and had some fun."
As teen-agers often do.
Championship: Martina Hingis, Switzerland, and Helena Sukova (8), Czech Republic, def. Meredith McGrath, Midland, Mich., and Larisa Neiland (4), Latvia, 5-7, 7-5, 6-1.
Quarterfinals: Mark Woodforde, Australia, and Larisa Neiland (1), Latvia, def. Patrick Galbraith, Seattle, and Pam Shriver (8), Baltimore, 3-6, 6-2, 7-5. Cyril Suk and Helena Sukova (7), Czech Republic, def. Luke Jensen, Atlanta, and Nicole Arendt, Gainesville, Fla., 6-3, 2-6, 10-8.
Semifinals: Cyril Suk and Helena Sukova (7), Czech Republic, def. Grant Connell, Canada, and Lindsay Davenport, Murrieta, Calif. (2), 6-4, 6-2. Mark Woodforde, Australia, and Larisa Neiland, Latvia (1), def. Christo van Rensburg, South Africa, and Laura Golarsa, Italy, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.
Championship: Cyril Suk and Helena Sukova (7), Czech Republic, def. Mark Woodforde, Australia, and Larisa Neiland (1), Latvia, 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Pub Date: 7/09/96