BIRMINGHAM, England - In a draw that featured one of the best teams in the world and three former World No.1s, it was Australians Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua who rose up to capture the doubles title at the Aegon Classic, beating Cara Black and Marina Erakovic in straight sets in the final.
The No.3-seeded Barty and Dellacqua had a bit of a slow start, falling behind 4-2 in the first set, but they found their range right away and eventually made it past their unseeded opponents, 75 64.
There was particularly big serving from Barty - she hit six of her team's seven aces in the match.
"We played really well this week," Dellacqua said. "We lost in the Australian Open final and we hadn't really played together since then, so it's been great to get our focus back as a team this week."
"It's been an amazing week," Barty said. "We've been pretty fortunate not to come on and off too often because of the rain. We had to wait a bit to play the final, but it turned out great. We're heading to Wimbledon now - I've never played doubles there before so I'm really looking forward to that."
Barty and Dellacqua, who were indeed runners-up at the Australian Open this year to Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci, won their first WTA doubles title together. It is Dellacqua's second WTA doubles title, her first coming earlier this year at Pattaya City with Kimiko Date-Krumm, while Barty - who just recently turned 17 years old - collected the first WTA title of any kind in her blossoming career.
Black and Erakovic, who had already reached finals this year in Madrid and Strasbourg, had to win their rain-postponed semifinal earlier in the day, against Date-Krumm and Arantxa Parra Santonja.
"Playing twice in one day isn't easy, but it's been like that for everyone this week," Black said. "That's just what happens in rain delays. The girls were just too good for us today - we'll get it next time."
Black was going for her 56th WTA doubles title, which would have separated her from Wendy Turnbull for 13th on the all-time list for WTA doubles titles. Martina Navratilova is No.1 on that list with 177.