MELBOURNE, Australia – Svetlana Kuznetsova and Vera Zvonareva of Russia captured the Australian Open women’s doubles title on Friday, beating the Italian duo of Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.
Kuznetsova, a two-time Grand Slam singles champion, and Zvonareva are both known primarily for their singles play, although each has one previous Grand Slam doubles title with a different partner.
The unseeded duo hadn’t played together since the French Open last year.
“We were a last-moment sign-up for doubles and I think we were pretty good at it,” Kuznetsova said to the crowd at Rod Laver Arena after the match.
Errani and Vinci were playing in their first Grand Slam final together. Their previous best result was reaching the quarter-finals of the U.S. Open last year.
The Italians started off strongly, breaking the Russians four times to win the opening set. But they only converted one of 13 break chances in the rest of the match, wasting five break points in the final game of the third set alone.
“I think we had chances in the beginning of the second set. We lost three games with 15-40 when they were serving. Also in the last game, we had some balls to make the break but we didn’t make it. It happens,” Errani said.
Kuznetsova and Zvonareva are the first unseeded pair to win the Australian Open women’s doubles title since Alona and Kateryna Bondarenko did it in 2008.
Zvonareva previously won the 2006 U.S. Open with Nathalie Dechy, and Kuznetsova captured the 2005 Australian Open with Alicia Molik, whose birthday it was on Friday. Kuznetsova wished her former doubles partner, who recently had a baby, a happy birthday on court after the match.