DUBAI, UAE - Fourteen major champions and 11 former World No.1s entered the draw for the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, but after a week full of surprises it was the unseeded duo of Alla Kudryavtseva and Anastasia Rodionova who hurried off to the airport with the silverware.
A 62 57 108 win over Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears on Saturday capped off a memorable run in the Middle East that delivered Kudryavtseva and Rodionova their fourth - and biggest - title to date.
"I'm really happy with the way we have been playing, so it's really amazing," Kudryavtseva said. "The end of the match was very nerve-wracking, so I think my voice is still trembling.
"We will see if we have time to celebrate. We both have flights to catch. I have an early flight tomorrow. Anastasia is leaving tonight. It's a very difficult schedule for us!"
Kudryavtseva and Rodionova made their way to the final without dropping a set and a dominant display early on suggested they would make short work of Kops-Jones and Spears. However, they were pegged back in the second before finally closing out the match in a tense match tie-break.
With seven and eight doubles titles to their names, respectively, Kudryavtseva and Rodionova are no strangers to success, but, to date, a breakthrough at Grand Slam level has proved elusive.
"Every tournament we play from now on we're going to win! I mean, seriously, it's unrealistic to say that, but that's the intention," Rodionova said. "That's how we are going to go and play the tournaments.
"If it happens, it's great. If it doesn't happen, we are still happy with the way we work together on the court. And as a team, I think we already achieved a lot, and we are just going to keep doing the same things. I'm pretty sure that good things will happen at Grand Slams."