Two-Handers Capture Doubles, Too
Published July 06, 2013 12:02
Having gone 5-0 in WTA doubles finals beforehand - including four Premier-level finals - the No.8-seeded Hsieh and Peng knew what it took to come through on the big stage. And they didn't let this one slip either, saving two set points down 5-3 in the first set, storming through the tie-break and then the second set as well to finish off the No.12-seeded Barty and Dellacqua in straights, 76(1) 61.
"I think we both started off really nervous, but then we started playing better at the end of the first set," Peng said afterwards. "We were trying to help each other, calming each other down, because we were both really tight on the court. We fought hard and kept trying our best, and things got better."
"I had been hitting the ball too short and too high in the first set, so in the tie-break I knew I had to start hitting the ball a little bit harder from the baseline," Hsieh said after the match. "From there it was much better and I think that's why we were doing much better during the points during the tie-break."
Hsieh is the first player from Chinese Taipei ever to win a Grand Slam title of any kind - and Peng isn't that un-historic either, the fifth Chinese player ever to win a Grand Slam title of any kind, after Yan Zi and Zheng Jie (doubles), Sun Tiantian (mixed doubles) and, of course, megastar Li Na (singles).
"It's very special because I don't think tennis is popular in Taiwan," Hsieh said. "We don't even see many media during this tournament. But I'm very proud I could win this tournament together with my good friend. It's the first Grand Slam title for us, for Taiwan. It's a big thing for us in Taiwan."
And just how good of friends are Hsieh and Peng? "We met in an ITF team when we were like 13, 14," Peng said. "We were juniors at the time, playing a few tournaments together, and that's how we started out. But after we turned pro, we had like seven years where we didn't play any doubles together."
"Actually, she gave me my life for doubles," Hsieh said. "She was Top 20 in singles, and then one time I asked her to play with me. Normally I'm pretty shy and don't want to bother my friend, because she was very good at the time. I asked her if she had someone to play with in Bali, and she said no."
"Are you sure you asked me? I thought I asked you?" Peng said.
"She's very nice," Hsieh replied. "Anyway, she said yes, and then we won it. And then in 2009 we won Sydney, Rome and Beijing, and semifinals of Roland Garros and quarterfinals of the Australian Open."
And there's another reason this one's special - both Peng and Hsieh hit with two hands off both sides, and coupled with Marion Bartoli's singles win, it's the first ever two-handed singles-doubles sweep.
"It's probably the first time double-handed players won the singles and doubles," Peng said.
"It's amazing," Hsieh said. "Maybe the world is going to change?"
Peng was asked about her origins with the style. "Well, when I was too small to hold the racquet, my uncle told me to hold it with two hands, and it was much easier," she said. "But when I was young, I wasn't really thinking about one hand or two hands. To me I was just trying to hold it and play."
"I'm the same as her," Hsieh added. "I was very skinny and short when I started playing tennis when I was five years old, so my father was just telling me to hold the racquet with both hands each side."