Spanish Duo Repeats
Published June 05, 2009 12:00
PARIS, France - Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual continued their love affair with Paris on Friday, winning their second straight French Open title with a rout of Victoria Azarenka and Elena Vesnina.
Medina Garrigues and Ruano Pascual had won their first Grand Slam together a year ago on the terre battue, and as the No.3 seeds this year they lost only one set en route to the semifinals, where they beat top seeds Cara Black and Liezel Huber, 75 57 62, to make the final. They had also beaten the co-world No.1s in the 2008 semifinals. Roland Garros is the only Grand Slam title the Zimbabwean-American duo is missing in their résumé.
The most crushing blow of the title run came at the end, as Medina Garrigues and Ruano Pascual hit 33 winners and were never broken during a 61 61 defeat of Azarenka and first-time Slam finalist Vesnina, who were the No.12 seeds.
"We knew the semifinals would be very difficult, because they were difficult last year and they are No.1 in the world," Ruano Pascual said. "For the final we knew we had the experience on our side, though. We weren't as stressed in the final. We saw them play their semifinal and imagined our tactics. We were not nervous at any moment. We played the way we planned."
"We make a beautiful team because we understand each other. Vivi is a very good player when she comes to the net, and from the baseline I have powerful shots," Medina Garrigues said. "With the Spanish style, the high balls, she has a beautiful strategy. This is something we use when we play together."
While Medina Garrigues now has two Grand Slam titles to her name - these two at Roland Garros - Ruano Pascual has now hit double digits, as she had taken eight during her longtime partnership with the now-retired Paola Suárez, one at the Australian Open (2004), four at Roland Garros (2001, 2002, 2004, 2005) and three at the US Open (2002, 2003, 2004). Wimbledon is the missing link, but can the 35-year-old Spaniard take the title in two weeks?
"Last year I said that after the Olympics I would probably retire, but I did not do it, because I love tennis," Ruano Pascual said. "Sometimes when you win, you feel you should stop when you're at the height of your career. It's a very special moment for me today. I always said I might retire, and maybe on a beautiful victory like this. But maybe now I'll keep playing."
And what is one of the biggest motivations for Ruano Pascual, who now has six French Open doubles titles to her name? "My father's birthday is on the fifth of June, so each year I try to give him this victory as a present."