Practice pays off for Huber and Raymond
Originally published on: 25/02/12 15:58
There can be no doubting the form team in women’s doubles. Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond today won their third title in succession when they beat Sania Mirza and Elena Vesnina 6-2, 6-1 in the final of the Dubai Duty Free Championships. The victory avenged three defeats at the hands of the same opponents in the last year.
“It feels great,” Raymond said afterwards. “I think when we step on the court now we feel like the teams are going to have to really come up with something and produce some really good tennis to beat us. I think we proved that today. That’s a team that we’ve lost to and I think we went out there and had a game plan and decisively won the match.”
Huber and Raymond joined forces last year but lost their first three matches together. Did Raymond wonder at the time whether they had chosen the right partners? “Absolutely not. If you look back at some of my most successful doubles partners and partnerships, the first few tournaments I played with those partners we lost first round. I think actually Liezel had the same experience with Cara Black, who was her most successful partnership. It took us a little while to hit our stride.”
Raymond added: “We spent a lot of hours on the practice court. We went to tournaments we may have really not wanted to play, but we needed the match practice. We knew and just believed in each other and in this team, in this partnership.”
Last year’s triumphs included the US Open and season-ending WTA Championships and this season Huber and Raymond have won the titles in Paris, Doha and now Dubai. Huber, who was born in South Africa, is now a US citizen and will be hoping to join forces at the Olympics this summer with Raymond.