New doubles duo Nadia Petrova and Katarina Srebotnik are the Apia International Sydney 2013 doubles champs after a 6-3, 6-4 over No.1 pair Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci. We take a look back at the women’s doubles event.
It was a stellar effort from the veterans Srebotnik and Petrova, who were playing together for the first time after joining forces at the New Year. They’d played together as a team just three time before – including once in Montreal in 2012 where they were runners up. The Slovenian and Russian are sure to be a force felt on the doubles circuit, particularly after their stellar win over the world No.1s team.
In the semifinals, the Italian pair defeated newcomers Darija Jurak and Katalin Marosi in a hotly-contested semifinal 7-5, 6-4. For Srebotnik and Petrova it was an upset of sorts as the veterans knocked out the No.2 seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-3.
A Title to Defend
Srebtonik returned to Sydney this year with high hopes. After being crowned WTA Doubles Team of the Year 2011, she and former partner Kveta Peschke continued their winning streak in Sydney, taking the Sydney title for 2012. Together, they took home the winning trophies of seven tournaments, including Wimbledon 2011.
But last year, the pair called it quits, and Srebotnik has this year arrived in Sydney with Petrova, who split recently with long-time partner Maria Kirielnko. In the first round here, Petrova and Srebotnik defeated Julia Goerges and Daniela Hantuchova in straight sets 6-1, 6-3. In the quarterfinals they faced another new pairing in No.4 seeds Liezel Huber and Sania Mirza, once doubles foes on the court. Srebotnik/Petrova lost the first set, but came back in the second and claimed victory in a match tiebreaker, winning 1-6, 6-0, 11-9.
It wasn’t as lucky of a go around in Sydney this year for Srebotnik’s former champion partner Peschke, as she and partner Anna-Lena Groenefeld lost in the quarterfinals.
A World-Class Act
Italians Vinci and Errani may be competitors on the singles court, but the best-friends are also the ranked first on the WTA in doubles. The duo won both the French Open and the US Open in 2012 to go along with their success in singles.
The duo moved with ease through the first round against Natalie Grandin and Vladimira Uhlirova, 6-2, 6-1. Their second round proved to be more difficult when they lost the first set of their match 4-6 against Peschke and Groenfeld. However, Vinci and Errani picked up in the second set 6-4, and qualified for the semifinals with a win in the match tiebreaker, registering a 4-6, 6-4, 10-2 victory.
A Challenge From the Newbies
Just who are Jurak and Marosi, anyway? The pair’s semifinal defeat at the hands of Errani and Vinci was their second defeat in 10 days against the Italians. Just over a week ago, the world’s No.1 team had reigned supreme over Jurak/Marosi on New Year’s Day at the Brisbane International, winning 6-2, 6-4.
While Jurak/Marosi remain relatively unknown on the tour circuit, they are climbing up the WTA ranks. Last year, they made their first finals appearance at Palermo to claim runners-up, and this week scored a quarterfinal victory over the No.3 seeds, Kirilenko and doubles veteran partner, Lisa Raymond.
While Jurak/Marosi turned out to be the surprise of the tournament, it was an Australian duo that they beat first that had quite a smiling. Teenage wildcards Abbie Myers and Storm Sanders looked strong against the eventual semifinalists, the pair of 18-year-olds pushing Jurak and Marosi into a match tiebreaker, losing 2-6, 6-4, 10-4.