Williams sisters conquer the doubles court
Originally published on: 26/02/10 15:22
Under the closed roof of Rod Laver Arena Serena and Venus Williams wrote another chapter in the history of Grand Slam tennis. The reigning Wimbledon doubles champions won their eighth Grand Slam doubles title when they beat Ai Sugiyama and Daniela Hantuchova in straight sets 6-3, 6-3.
The match started at 3pm local time and the temperature outside RLA was 44.7 degrees. By 5pm the temperature had lowered to 32.3 degrees and immediately after the match finished the roof was opened. The crowds response was interesting, as there was a collective booooh as a swathe of light hit the flags that were still assembled after the presentation of the trophy.
The match was a closely fought contest. Venus closed out the first set in 38 minutes with a serve that Hantuchova was unable to return.
The second set was extraordinary in that Hantuchova was broken in the first game; Venus managed to save her serve with a 191kph ace to get to deuce when she had been 15-40 down. But after that the next four games consisted of a break of serve until Serena managed to hold hers to make it 5-3.
With Hantuchova serving at 15-40 the Williams sisters took the first match point to write their place in the annuals of history. They looked delighted as they embraced after the match, before going to the net to shake the hands of their opponents. Sugiyama and Hantuchova had reached the final after defeating the world No.1 pairing, Cara Black and Liezel Huber, in the semis.
The match was entertaining. There had been some heavy hitting from both pairs at the baseline and some points where all the players were at the net. Hantuchova and Sugiyama demonstrated how lobs and volleys could be used to good effect when the net is closed down by the imposing figures of the Williams sisters. The seats in the upper tier of the stadium were virtually full and the crowd was appreciative of what they had seen.
For Ai Sugiyama it was disappointing as this is the only Slam she has yet to win, having won the US Open in 2000 and Roland Garros and Wimbledon in 2003.
For Serena it throws up an interesting statistic. In five of their seven previous Grand Slam doubles titles runs one of the Williams sisters has also won the singles title: 1999 US Open (Serena), 2000 Wimbledon (Venus), 2002 Wimbledon (Serena), 2003 Australian Open (Serena), 2008 Wimbledon (Venus).
Tomorrow we will discover if that statistic will change to six out of eight when Serena takes on Dinara Safina in the final.