Kirilenko & Azarenka Seal Cincy Deal
Published August 15, 2010 12:00
CINCINNATI, OH, USA - Two of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour's brightest young stars paired up in doubles for just the third time this week and went straight to the top: Victoria Azarenka and Maria Kirilenko won a nail-biting final to take the Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open.
Azarenka and Kirilenko didn't drop a set en route to Sunday's final, including demolition jobs of the two seeded teams they had to face, 60 62 over No.3 seeds Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik and 62 61 over No.2 seeds Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta, which was held the night before.
Things were much tougher against No.4 seeds Lisa Raymond and Rennae Stubbs in the final, as the veteran pair were always aggressive, rushing the net and displaying their impressive shot variety. The match lasted more than two hours and went to two tie-breaks, with Azarenka and Kirilenko saving two set points in the second one and finally closing it out in straight sets, 76(4) 76(8).
"We had to come up with different things. If we played the same way, they would have adapted and taken advantage of it," Azarenka said. "Both of them have really good serves and it was tough to keep up, but we mixed it up and tried to be aggressive, and just tried to not let them play their game.
"It's not about who's a singles player or a doubles player. It's about what you can bring out on the court. They have experience you cannot even imagine - we had to fight and come up with something special every time."
Azarenka and Kirilenko didn't have the same success in their only two previous ventures, the quarterfinals of New Haven in 2007 and the semifinals of Stanford in July. This was Kirilenko's eighth Tour doubles title and Azarenka's fourth.
"From the first round you start to understand your partner more and more. We just talked a lot while we were playing," Kirilenko said. "All titles, singles or doubles, feel good. I'm happy to win today and Victoria played really well."
"It was great to play with Maria. Maybe later we can play some more together," Azarenka said. "It was also great to see so many people watching today. It's amazing when so many people come to watch doubles. It's good energy."
Raymond and Stubbs didn't lose a set en route to the final either, including a semifinal upset of No.1 seeds Liezel Huber and Nadia Petrova. They already have 33 Tour titles together, including one from earlier this year in Eastbourne.
Raymond and Stubbs were playing their second straight final, having been runners-up at San Diego last week to Kirilenko and Zheng Jie.