Carly's Grand Slam Glory
Published September 10, 2009 12:00
NEW YORK, NY, USA - Travis Parrott and Carly Gullickson continued their string of upsets on Thursday afternoon, beating Leander Paes and Cara Black in straight sets for the US Open mixed doubles title.
Parrott was originally slotted to play with Abigail Spears but that did not work out, and at the suggestion of Spears, he contacted Gullickson to play. It turned out to be a scratch pair made in heaven - wildcards into the draw, they beat four seeds in five rounds, starting with No.6 seeds Max Mirnyi and Nadia Petrova, where they came back from two match points to reach the second round.
"They were serving 9-7 in the super tie-break and he had a second serve. I think I lobbed it over Petrova's head. She got it back, then Travis reflexed the ball back, and I think it was a 10 or 11 ball rally at the net. Then I hit a winner down the line or something," Gullickson said of one of the match points. "That match really helped us the whole week. I was so nervous going out there and playing Mirnyi, because I've never played mixed in a Grand Slam, and I've never played someone like Mirnyi, who has a huge serve and is so talented at the net."
"You walk into that second round and you're just really happy to still be in the tournament," Parrott said. "It was a whole new mindframe. It happens a lot out there. You kind of struggle in those first few rounds and find a way to survive. Later on in the week, you're much better for it. That's what happened with us."
Parrott and Gullickson beat Daniel Nestor and Sania Mirza in the second round then took out the Top 3 seeds back-to-back-to-back, first third seeds Marcin Matkowski and Lisa Raymond in the quarterfinals, top seeds Mahesh Bhupathi and Liezel Huber in the semifinals and second seeds Paes and Black, 62 64.
"We had played in one World Team Tennis match," Parrott said. "I played for the Philadelphia Freedoms and Lisa Raymond hadn't made it yet. Carly came in to sub for a couple matches. We won - I don't know who we beat!"
"I still can't believe we actually won the US Open! It's weird still," Gullickson said. "Both of us played really well all week. We beat some great teams in all our matches. I was super-relaxed because I felt no pressure - it was just fun. Hopefully I can gain a little confidence into my singles and doubles from this."
"Carly played awesome today, but she played this well the whole week," Parrott said. "We'd look at each other on the changeover and be like, 'God, this is fun. Why can't we play like this when we're playing the rest of the year?'
"The psychology changed because she's so good at the net. I don't feel the pressure to have to come up with a big serve. In the past I'd end up double faulting more because I knew I had to get a lot of free points, but with Carly, I'd put a good serve in there and she'd clean it up."
"For the last few years I've always done better in doubles, and this year I've won a few tournaments and qualified for a few Grand Slams in singles, so I've got a few more points and a lot more confidence in my singles," Gullickson added. "My goal is to be in the main draw in Australia. Hopefully I'm Top 100 by then."