China's Peng & Zheng Win First Title Together
Published May 15, 2011 12:00
ROME, Italy - Li Na's back-to-back semifinals in Madrid and Rome aren't the only big results for China over the last two weeks. In just their fourth tournament together, Peng Shuai and Zheng Jie captured one of the biggest doubles titles on the WTA calendar, taking the Internazionali BNL d'Italia crown.
Unseeded at the Premier event, Peng and Zheng had two seeded teams in their path to the final but they got by them both, beating No.4 seeds Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond in the second round, 75 75, and No.8 seeds María José Martínez Sánchez and Anabel Medina Garrigues in the quarterfinals, 63 64.
Peng and Zheng saved their very best tennis for No.3 seeds Vania King and Yaroslava Shvedova in the final, storming through the first set in just 33 minutes then winning five games in a row from 1-3 to clinch a 62 63 victory.
"We haven't been playing together very long but we've gotten to know each other and our games better this year, and we're really happy to win such a big title here in Rome," Peng said. "We'll be playing the French Open together, then Birmingham and Wimbledon, and we'll see what happens after that."
"It's a big title for us and gives us lots of confidence going into the French," Zheng said. "I didn't know it was my 25th doubles final, but that's really exciting. I try to treat every match the same and not worry about numbers."
Both Chinese had titles of this magnitude before. Peng had already won three Premiers (all with Hsieh Su-Wei); Zheng had won two Grand Slams (both with Yan Zi) and five Premiers (four with Yan and one with Maria Kirilenko). This was Peng's seventh overall WTA doubles title and Zheng's 14th.
"The conditions were very difficult and windy, and they handled it better than us," Shvedova said. "But we still enjoyed the final. We always try to have fun - it's the most important thing for us. I hope we continue this at the French."
"We hadn't played together so much this year because unfortunately Slava was injured, but each tournament we play together we get better and better," King said. "Today it was really tough. I felt like our opponents really played much better with the conditions than we did, but I'm pleased with our performance here. We had so much fun, which is always the most important thing.
"We're looking forward to Paris. I think we'll do well there."