MELBOURNE, Australia – Veteran American doubles pair Lisa Raymond and Liezel Huber are out of the women’s doubles after a marathon quarter-final match against Sania Mirza and Elena Vesnina.
The India-Russia pairing of Mirza and Vesnina won 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (6) on Tuesday after three hours four minutes on Margaret Court Arena.
Raymond, 38, and Huber, 35, served for the match at 5-4 in the second set and then saved four match points in the tiebreaker to fight back to 6-all — but Mirza and Vesnina eventually closed out a 93-minute deciding set.
The match was dramatic enough without an incident on one of the match points when Mirza and Vesnina were convinced Huber had hit a shot after the ball had bounced twice.
The umpire didn’t see it and Huber denied it — leaving the opposition pair fuming. Mirza subsequently hit a forehand straight at Huber, knocking her to the ground.
Raymond, who became the oldest woman to win a Grand Slam doubles title when she and Huber won the U.S. Open in September, tweeted that it was a “devastating loss today to a great team.”
Vesnina responded on Twitter: “Thank you Lis!It was great match and u are better player and person on and off the court,then your partner!!!”
It sets up an intriguing last match at Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday, when Mirza and her mixed doubles partner Mahesh Bhupathi take on Huber and Colin Fleming.
THE ITALIAN JOB: Sara Errani is having the Grand Slam tournament of her life.
The 24-year-old Italian has advanced to both the quarter-finals of the singles and the semifinals of the doubles at the Australian Open — the furthest she has ever gone in either draw at a major.
Errani’s good form means she’ll have a busy day on Wednesday. First, she plays Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in singles at 11 a.m. local time. A few hours later, she is scheduled to play doubles with her partner Roberta Vinci against the seventh-seeded Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka for a spot in the doubles final.
She’ll also get a chance to play her first match ever on the premier court at the Australian Open — Rod Laver Arena.
“What can I say? I’ve only seen it as a spectator,” she told the Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport. “All these situations are new to me and I seem to be able to manage them well.”
The 48th-ranked Errani, whose previous best Grand Slam result in singles is reaching the third round, is similarly not nervous about facing a player of Kvitova’s stature. The two have never met before.
“She’s a beast. The important thing is not to allow yourself to get eaten, trying to be more aggressive than her,” Errani said.
Associated Press writer Justin Bergman contributed to this report.