MELBOURNE, Australia - The American contingent may not have won in singles or women's doubles but Bethanie Mattek-Sands made sure they didn't leave Melbourne empty-handed, taking the mixed doubles title with Romania's Horia Tecau. They beat Elena Vesnina and Leander Paes, 63 57 103.
Mattek-Sands, who had never been to a Grand Slam final of any kind before, held her ground from the baseline and the net throughout the match, with the more experienced Tecau also lifting his game - he lost just eight points in his six service games and won all four points on his serve in the match tie-break.
Mattek-Sands and Tecau originally led 63 42 - Vesnina and Paes rallied to push it to the breaker but Mattek-Sands and Tecau made a final push of their own.
"Elena came up with some good volleys in the second set. In the beginning we were kind of picking on her at net and she was missing a few," Mattek-Sands said. "Kudos to them for coming back. They're good doubles players. We weren't quite penetrating. But I think we just needed to get some bugs out."
"It's a good feeling to win it like this, the hard way," Tecau said. "They had to change it up in the second set because they saw we had the momentum and things weren't going well for them. They are two good players - Bethanie helped me stay positive and fight through this final, which was amazing."
"It feels pretty good to have a trophy, get our picture up in the hallway next year," Mattek-Sands added. "It feels awesome. It's pretty cool."
Tecau was playing his third Grand Slam final, having finished runner-up twice in men's doubles at Wimbledon. "I played two finals before. I'm really happy to break through and get my first one," Tecau said. "It's an amazing feeling. It's very hard to win those. I'm going to enjoy these few moments we have now."
"Horia wanted to stay on the court," Mattek-Sands commented. "He was going to have security drag him off. He's like, 'I'm just gonna stay here.'"
For Mattek-Sands it was particularly gratifying given she didn't start serving until two weeks before she came to Australia. "It was that close whether I was going to be able to play at all. But the shoulder has held up well. I've been sore because I didn't play a lot of matches last year. I was feeling it after a few of my singles matches, especially at Hopman Cup. I was pretty wrecked.
"I have been in a couple singles finals in WTA events and haven't been able to close it out, so I think finally closing one out feels awesome."