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Errani-Vinci snag fourth grand slam title in Australia

Italians beat Russian duo in epic clash

24 January, 17:05
Errani-Vinci snag fourth grand slam title in Australia (By Paul Virgo) (ANSA) - Rome, January 24 - Italy's Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci beat Russian duo Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina 6-4 3-6 7-5 in an epic battle on Friday to retain the Australian Open doubles title.

It is the fourth glam slam doubles title for Errani and Vinci, who are good friends as well as sporting partners.

In addition to triumphing last year in Melbourne, the world's top-ranked doubles pairing also won the French Open and the US Open in 2012.

The triumph was even harder than the scoreline suggests as the Italian duo had to haul themselves back from 5-2 down in the final set, breaking twice when the Russians were serving for the match, to notch a memorable victory.

Vinci sealed the match with a forehand winner down the line after two hours and six minutes of action, including 55 minutes in the final set.

"It was incredible," said Vinci, a 30-year-old from the southern city of Taranto.

"It was really difficult. After winning the first set, we let the second get away and then in the third, even though we started well, we found ourselves 5-2 down.

"They were aggressive and we sat back too much," added Vinci, who is ranked 12th in the WTA singles ranking.

"Maybe at that moment we were helped by a pinch of recklessness. We were bolder than them and it went well".

The successful title defence ensures the Italians will retain their number-one status when the world ranking is updated next week.

It also gave them revenge for the defeat Makarova and Vesnina handed them in last year's French Open final. Errani and Vinci are both short by the standards of international tennis players, but they make up for their lack of height with strong technique, tenacity and athleticism.

They led the team that thrashed Russia in the final of the Fed Cup in November for Italy's fourth title in the female equivalent of the Davis Cup in eight years.

"I want to thank Roberta because she supported me," said Errani, the world's seventh-ranked singles player and runner-up at the French Open singles in 2012.

"We had lots of tense moments but with her everything is easier.

"To have her here on the court as a very good friend makes it easy".

In the men's singles, Spain's Rafa Nadal beat his great rival Roger Federer to set up a showdown in the final with Federer's Swiss compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka.

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