SYDNEY, Australia - Victoria Azarenka wasn't the only one picking up a ninth WTA title at the Apia International Sydney - the team of Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik won their ninth WTA title together as well, fighting off a match point to beat Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond in the final, 61 46 1311.
The doubles final showcased the two greatest teams of 2011, Peschke and Srebotnik capturing six titles in 2011 (including Wimbledon) and Huber and Raymond winning four titles (including the US Open and WTA Championships).
The No.1-seeded Peschke and Srebotnik came out very strong, winning the first set in just 25 minutes. Huber and Raymond broke early in the second set and ended up pushing it to a match tie-break, even getting to match point at 9-8; but a huge inside out forehand return from Peschke saved that match point, and the Czech-Slovenian duo eventually closed it out on their third match point.
"We played well, we feel good, and we can only take positive things from this match," Srebotnik commented after the match. "We're very, very happy. It's our first title of the year, and for me it's my 30th, which is a nice number. It's a very nice start to the year for us, to win in just our second tournament."
Srebotnik added Sydney's aura helped them all week. "It's obviously one of the nicest cities in the world. Our hotel is right in the middle of the city so we have a lot of fun things to do. The whole atmosphere, the sights and the people make it very comfortable for us, and those conditions are why we play well."
Peschke and Srebotnik will be playing the Australian Open for the second time together, having been semifinalists there last year (losing to Azarenka and Maria Kirilenko). "We will be the team to beat right now, so it's very important for us to go in with confidence from this week," Srebotnik said. "We need to work match by match and hopefully we can go very far again this time."
Peschke now has 23 WTA doubles titles to her name, while Srebotnik has 30.
Huber and Raymond are now 1-2 against Peschke and Srebotnik, losing to them in the Eastbourne final last year but getting revenge in the final of the WTA Championships (both previous meetings were decided in straight sets).