Italy wins Australian Open Tennis

Italy wins Australian Open Tennis
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Less than 10 years ago Italian women’s tennis was in the doldrums.

They hadn’t won a major tournament in decades, far less a grand slam event.

Then came the start of a Renaissance, with three Fed Cup wins in 2006, 2009 and 2010, followed that same year by Francesca Schiavone’s historic victory in Paris over super-favourite Australian Samantha Stosur.

Memories will never fade of Schiavone’s celebrations as she crashed to the Roland Garros earth and kissed its famous red clay.

But the skipping and jumping of Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci in Melbourne Friday are likely to claim an equal place in fans’ hearts after the doubles stalwarts beat Aussie duo Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dell’Acqua to claim Italy’s first-ever women’s Australian Open title.

‘The Renaissance goes on, it’s going from strength to strength,’ said leading tennis pundit Gianni Clerici.Sara Errani e Roberta Vinci agli Australian Open

Errani and Vinci’s win is their third slam victory after Roland Garros and the US Open last year.

They’re not content to leave it there.

‘We want to complete the slam, we’ll be going to Wimbledon to win,’ said Errani, 25, from the central Italian city of Bologna, and 29-year-old Vinci, who hails from the southern port city of Taranto.

‘A win at the home of tennis would be the icing on the cake’.

The duo had to battle past fierce opposition in Melbourne before facing the home-crowd darlings Barty and Dellacqua in the final.

‘Undoubtedly our toughest challenge was against the Williams sisters, in the quarter-finals,’ they said.

After beating Serena and Venus in three sets, 3-6 7-6 7-5, the Italians had a slightly easier encounter with Russians Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina in the semis.

They came through in fine style, 6-2 6-4.

‘That gave us the confidence we needed for the final, and to be quite honest we were backing ourselves, because Ashleigh and Dellacqua are ranked a long way below us,’ Errani said.

‘But they surprised us, they fought like tigers, and I suppose home advantage played some part,’ said Vinci.

In the end it was another three-setter, with the Bolognese-Tarantino combination prevailing 6-2 3-6 6-2 in one hour 42 minutes.

Tennis Australian Open 2013Clerici says that even though Vinci is coming into her 30s the pair ‘could dominate women’s doubles for years to come.

‘Their only serious fearsome rivals are the Williams, with whom they share a number of characteristics, including the balance between individual skill and combined strategy,’ added the veteran commentator.

For Errani and Vinci, the secret is simpler.

‘It’s a question of feeling,’ they said, echoing a famous Italian song.

 

(ANSA) – Rome, January 25 –

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