Italian pairing Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci have become the first duo to defend the Australian Open women’s doubles crown since the Williams sisters four years ago after a come-from-behind three-set triumph over Russians Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina on Friday.
The top seeds rallied from 2-5 down in the decider, taking five games on the run to clinch their fifth Grand Slam title together 6-4 3-6 7-5, turning the tables on the third seeds after falling to them in last year’s French Open decider.
Serving for the first set, Errani faltered, shanking a backhand wide before Makarova teed off on a big leftie forehand down the line to pass Vinci for 3-5.
Despite dropping the first set 6-4, the Russians broke early in the second set, holding for 3-0. The Italians would bring games back on serve by breaking Vesnina for 2-3, but with the championship in sight, the third seeds capitalised on their opponent’s mounting error count to force a third set.
From there the Russians raced to a 5-2 lead, twice serving for the match, but were unable to land the winning blow.
“I don't know. Was very strange, very difficult. We went from two-love up in the third, 5-2, playing not very good,” Errani said. “From there we start, I don't know, just keep it going.”
The top-ranked pair was on a roll by 5-5. Errani and Vinci stormed back, holding to love with Errani leaving her opponents stranded at the net with a forehand lob before breaking Marakova’s serve; Vinci sealing the match with a forehand winner down the line after two hours and six minutes.
“For sure I want to thank Roberta because she support me. We have a lot of tense moments but with her everything is easier,” Errani said. “To have her here on the court as a very good friend makes it easy. Our coach … we know we’re making you angry so many times. We try our best and sometimes it’s not easy. I think we made a good job.”
The pair’s successful title defence ensure they retain their No.1 ranking.