MELBOURNE, Australia - When the doubles draw came out it was the match everyone was waiting for, and it definitely lived up to the hype. Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci won a thriller against the Williams sisters on Tuesday, a stark contrast to the only previous meeting between the two teams.
Just a matter of months ago, the Williams sisters routed Errani and Vinci in the quarterfinals of the Olympics, 61 61, and this time things looked headed for another straight set win, as they built a 63 53 lead. Venus Williams even served for it at 5-4 and Serena Williams the same at 6-5 - once they lost the set they even led 3-0 in the third. But it was to no avail as Errani and Vinci got them, 36 76(1) 75.
"We just tried to keep going and keep fighting on all the points," Errani said after the match. "Of course it was very difficult - they served for it twice in the second set, and we were down 3-0 in the third, but we just tried to stay in the points and keep playing and it ended up very good for us."
Errani and Vinci also shared their thoughts on the support from the crowd. "The crowd was great," Errani said. "They had a lot of people cheering for them, but so did we - there were a lot of Italians there. We're happy we could play a good match in front of them and we're very happy to win too."
The Italians both went out earlier than expected in the singles event - Errani, who was the No.7 seed, lost first round, while the No.16-seeded Vinci made it through to the third round before falling.
But the singles court isn't the only court that means a lot to them. "For us, doubles is important like singles," Errani said. "I have fun playing doubles, maybe even more than singles sometimes! And you can take some confidence from the doubles court to the singles court too, so it's good."
Two other quarterfinals took place Tuesday and one of those was a nail-biter too, with Varvara Lepchenko and Zheng Saisai edging Nuria Llagostera vives and Zheng Jie, 63 57 75. Lepchenko and Zheng originally led 63 52 and held four match points in the second set before winning in three.
The semifinals will take place on Wednesday, with Errani and Vinci playing Makarova and Vesnina while Australian wildcards Barty and Dellacqua will take on Lepchenko and Zheng Saisai.