MIAMI, FL, USA - Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova captured their third and biggest doubles title together at the Sony Ericsson Open on Sunday afternoon, then donned some unique headgear to celebrate the Premier-level triumph.
Kirilenko and Petrova, who had a 2-0 career record in WTA finals together - at Cincinnati in 2008 and Moscow in 2009 - improved their perfect finals record to 3-0 with a 76(0) 46 104 win over Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci, lifting their game when it mattered most, saving a set point down 5-4 in the first set then winning the breaker at love, and of course playing a sharp match tie-break.
"It was a great week for us to be able to win the title here at the Sony Ericsson Open," said Kirilenko, who bounces back into the Top 10 in doubles after the Premier victory. "We are working hard to try to get to the Olympics. It's nice to win such a great tournament like this, especially playing with Nadia."
"It was my third final here - the last two were quite painful, I believe last year we were even serving for the match," Petrova said after the match. "It has been a very long two weeks but now I'm going to head to Charleston with a good feeling, with excitement, with a good motivation to do well there too."
Kirilenko now has 11 WTA doubles titles to her name, Petrova now a clean 20 - and that's not where the milestones ended for the 29-year-old Petrova, who surpassed the $10 million career prize money mark, the 24th player in WTA history to do so (and sixth Russian, after Maria Sharapova, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Elena Dementieva, Vera Zvonareva and Dinara Safina).
Kirilenko and Petrova celebrated their win with bunny ears (see photo).
"That was actually a dare from Maria," Petrova explained to reporters. "She purchased them like a week ago and said, 'Right, if we win this tournament, we have to put them on right away on the court.' We were already so excited last night - we stayed in separate hotels and put the ears on, taking pictures or ourselves and sending them to each other, both of us all excited for today.
"We were really motivated to win this tournament, because we've been playing well together but didn't have a title for a while really. We knew if we played our game today against Vinci and Errani, we could hopefully end up winning it.
"We were very solid in the super tie-breaker and then, of course, we were obviously excited to wear those ears."
Errani and Vinci are now 7-6 in WTA doubles finals together, this being the second-biggest they've played together, after this year's Australian Open (where they lost to another Russian pair, Kuznetsova and Zvonareva).