Friday, January 25, 2013

Errani and Vinci overcome strong challenge to win Australian Open

The Australian Open doubles final had tension and excitement built into it, even before a ball was struck. Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci, the top doubles team in the world--and winners the 2012 French Open and U.S. Open--were contending against a wild card team from Australia. Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua made it to the final by defeating, among others, the seeded teams of Kirilenko/Raymond and Pavlyuchenko/Safarova. The Italians had knocked out Serena and Venus Williams, but there was still work to be done, and the crowd was there to cheer the Australians to a victory.

The first set was a standard Errani/Vinci domination, 6-2. The second set was a different story, however. If you're impressed with 16-year-old Barty's singles game, wait until you see her play doubles. The Australians became much more aggressive in the second set, with Barty hitting hard, sharp groundstrokes and putting on a show at the net that made it really hard to believe that she's only 16 years old. It was a great set for both Australians, and they took it, 6-3.

While Barty and Dellacqua were taking charge, Errani and Vinci were coming a bit unglued. Vinci sent three consecutive backhand volleys into the net, and Errani missed several opportunities to try for winners; she just appeared too hesitant.

The final set was tense at first, and looked as though it might remain so. But the roles reversed, as the Australian team's momentum cooled down, and the Fighting Italians did what champions do--they found a way to prevail. They won that last set 6-2, and now they have only to win Wimbledon to achieve a Career Slam.


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