Australian Open: Doubles Final Preview
Published January 24, 2013 05:10
Friday, Doubles Final
Rod Laver Arena
 Sara Errani (ITA #2) and Roberta Vinci (ITA #1) vs. [WC] Ashleigh Barty (AUS #145) and Casey Dellacqua (AUS #71)
Head-to-head: first meeting
The Australian Open's laid back atmosphere, fortunate weather and general popularity among the playing corps has seen it affectionately dubbed 'the Happy Slam'. And this fortnight, the surprise run of one wildcard pairing has certainly brought a smile to the faces of the Melbourne Park crowd.
Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua had played just seven matches together prior to the start of the tournament, but they have defied the odds to become the first all-Australian team to contest the final in 35 years. On that occasion, Evonne Goolagong Cawley and Helen Gourlay went on to take home the title, and if Barty and Dellacqua are to follow in their footsteps they will need to find one more inspired performance.
The Australian duo's reward for their five straight set wins - highlighted by a second round upset of No.3 seeds Maria Kirilenko and Lisa Raymond - is a match with the WTA's outstanding partnership, Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci.
While Barty and Dellacqua's performances have dominated the headlines, Errani and Vinci's run to the final has been no less impressive. After an early scare against Hsieh Su-Wei and Peng Shuai, the Italians have grown in confidence as the tournament has progressed, knocking out four-time champions Serena and Venus Williams in the quarterfinals before sweeping past Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina to book their place in the final.
Having finished as runners-up 12 months ago, Errani and Vinci are looking to add the Australian Open to their Roland Garros and US Open crowns and in doing so deny Barty her place in the history books; at 16 years and 274 days, Barty will be the fourth youngest woman - after Martina Hingis (Wimbledon 1996 and Australian Open 1997) and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (Australian Open 1998) - ever to lift a Grand Slam doubles trophy.
Road To The Final
Errani & Vinci
First Round: d. Arvidsson/Larsson, 76(3) 62 (1:17)
Second Round: d. Craybas/Scheepers, 62 60 (0:49)
Third Round: d. Hsieh/Peng, 64 06 75 (2:10)
Quarterfinals: d. Williams/Williams, 36 76(1) 75 (2:36)
Semifinals: d. Makarova/Vesnina, 62 64 (1:17)
Dellacqua & Barty
First Round: d. Hercog/Schiavone, 62 64 (0:59)
Second Round: d. Kirilenko/Raymond, 64 64 (1:15)
Third Round: d. Grandin/Uhlirova, 76(3) 63 (1:25)
Quarterfinals: d. Pavlyuchenkova/Safarova, 62 63 (1:01)
Semifinals: d. Lepchenko/Zheng, 62 64 (1:09)