Hsieh, Peng Win Sydney; Dulko, Pennetta Take Hobart
Published January 18, 2009 12:00
SYDNEY, Australia - For the second week in a row, co-world No.1s Cara Black and Liezel Huber fell short of expectations - not least their own - by failing to reach the final of a tournament, let alone win it. After edging the first set of their semifinal, the Medibank International's top seeds were upset by unseeded Nathalie Dechy and Casey Dellacqua in a match tie-break. But the French-Australian duo couldn't keep the momentum going in the final, where they were routed by Hsieh Su-Wei of Chinese Taipei and China's Peng Shuai, 60 61.
Hsieh and Peng's win at the year's first Premier event - their second as a unit after success at the Commonwealth Bank Classic in Bali last September - was all the more impressive for the fact that seven of the eight players who qualified for the recent season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha were in the field at Sydney - though some had teamed with different partners.
However, French Open holders and No.2 seeds Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual didn't make it past the opening round, where they were upset by Maria Kirilenko and Agnieszka Radwanska. Third seeds Kveta Peschke and Lisa Raymond fared little better - lucky to escape Daniela Hantuchova and Ai Sugiyama in their first match, they fell to Dechy and Dellacqua in the quarters.
Hsieh and Peng set their own course for victory by dispatching No.4 seeds Samantha Stosur and Rennae Stubbs in the first round, 75 75. In the last eight the champions beat Jill Craybas and Galina Voskoboeva, before downing surprise semifinalists Nuria Llagostera Vives and María José Martínez Sánchez of Spain.
Hsieh now has five Tour doubles titles to her name, Peng, four.
HOBART, Australia - They were both seeded in the singles but suffered disappointing early losses, however, Flavia Pennetta and Gisela Dulko made amends in the doubles at the Moorilla Hobart International, winning their second title together on a cool Tasmanian evening at the expense of top seeds Alona and Kateryna Bondarenko, 62 76(4).
The champions received something of a lucky break in the first round when, trailing 5-0 to No.3 seeds Agnes Szavay and Elena Vesnina, Szavay was forced to retire due to an upper respiratory tract infection. In the quarters they proved too strong for Natalie Grandin and Abigail Spears, before squeezing past experienced Czechs Iveta Benesova and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in the semis. No.2 seeds Marina Erakovic and Monica Niculescu had been dispatched from this side of the draw in the first round by unheralded Sarah Borwell and Courtney Nagle.
For their part, the Bondarenko sisters seemed to be preparing perfectly for their Australian Open title defense, advancing to the final without the loss of a set. In the semis they defeated Edina Gallovits and Arantxa Parra Santonja, who had upset fourth seeds Sania Mirza and Francesca Schiavone in the previous round. But in the championship match they left their surge too late, falling in a second set tie-break.
With their International series win, Argentina's Dulko now boasts seven Tour doubles titles, while Italy's Pennetta lays claim to four.