Sara & Roberta To Vie With Sveta & Vera For Title
Published January 25, 2012 03:08
MELBOURNE, Australia - The Australian Open doubles final will be decided by two teams pursuing their first majors together after both pulled off upsets in their semifinals on Wednesday.
Sara Errani shook off her quarterfinal loss earlier in the day in singles to team with Roberta Vinci for a 57 75 61 defeat of No.7 seeds and reigning French Open champions Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, ending the Czechs' winning streak at eight matches.
"After the first set, I had a bit of down spell and was a bit tired," Errani said. "Roberta tried to lift me up and I tried to do the same for her. We were helping each other. We played very well in the third set and won a very good match. I'm very happy about that."
Errani and Vinci's best previous result at a Grand Slam was a quarterfinal showing at last year's US Open. The 11th-seeded Italians take a 5-4 record in finals together into Friday's showdown with Svetlana Kuznetsova and Vera Zvonareva. The Russians outlasted sixth-seeded Sania Mirza and Elena Vesnina, 76(4) 26 64, in a match lasting over two and a half hours.
Kuznetsova and Zvonareva had only played six events together - none since last year's second round loss at the French Open - before this week and are better known for their singles resumes. However, Kuznetsova has 14 doubles titles to her name - including the 2005 Australian Open alongside Alicia Molik, while Zvonareva has five - including the 2006 US Open with Nathalie Dechy. This will be Kuznetsova and Zvonareva's first WTA final as a duo. They will be the first unseeded pairing in an Australian Open final since the Bondarenko sisters won the title in 2008.
The day wasn't a total loss for Mirza and Vesnina, as Mirza teamed with Mahesh Bhupathi for a win in the quarterfinals of the mixed doubles and Vesnina and Leander Paes were victorious in their second round match. Vinci also won her quarterfinal alongside Daniele Bracciali and is seeking to become the third player to win both the women's and mixed doubles events at the Australian Open in the Open Era.