Huber and Raymond win women’s doubles title


The last time Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond were on the same court at a United States Open doubles final, it was as opponents. That was in 2008, when Huber teamed with Cara Black to defeat Raymond and Samantha Stosur to win the doubles title. Three years later, Huber and Raymond were on the same side at Arthur Ashe Stadium, and although they were seeded fourth, it was a somewhat unexpected run to the final. They began playing together just a few months ago and, at the combined age of 73, are ancient by tennis standards.
But the Americans teamed to defeat the defending champions, third-seeded Vania King of the United States and Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan, to win the doubles title and claim the No. 1 world ranking, 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3), in 2 hours 47 minutes. “I think that’s probably one of our biggest assets as a team is our experience,” the 38-year-old Raymond said. “Yes, they were the defending champs and they have two Grand Slams and they’ve done well, but we have years and years and years of being in finals of Slams, winning the championships, being down breaks in the third set to win or lose a Slam.” It is Huber and Raymond’s first Grand Slam championship together, and the first either has won since Huber, who has advanced to four straight United States Open doubles finals, won at the 2008 Open. It is Raymond’s first major title since winning the 2006 French Open with Stosur. Raymond also won the Open doubles title in 2001 with the Australian Rennae Stubbs and in 2005 with Stosur.
“They were very happy after they won last year and I wanted to feel that happy,” said the 35-year-old Huber, who, playing with Nadia Petrova, lost to King and Shvedova in last year’s final after having championship point. “That is probably not taking that happiness away from them, but I envied that.”
Using the old-school doubles strategy of serve, volley and charge not often adopted by the harder-hitting players on tour today, Huber and Raymond dug themselves a hole at the beginning. After King, 22, and Shvedova, who turns 24 on Monday, won the first set, they jumped out to leads of 4-2 and 5-3 in the second set and were serving for the match at 5-4. But after a 30-minute rain delay and a miraculous backhand volley winner from Huber to stave off match point, Huber and Raymond regrouped to force a tie breaker, which they won, 7-5.
In the third set, King and Shvedova, who entered the match 22-2 together in Grand Slam tournaments, took a 6-5 lead. But after a rally at the net between Raymond and Shvedova went Raymond’s way, Huber and Raymond went on to take the game and force another tie breaker, which they won, 7-3.
“We just really stuck together, even when we were down when they were serving for the match,” Raymond said. “Just grinded it out, and now we’re sitting here as U.S. Open champions.”
MEN’S DOUBLES Jürgen Melzer of Austria and Philipp Petzschner of Germany dispatched Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski of Poland, 6-2, 6-2, to win the men’s doubles title in 49 minutes early Sunday morning.