Melbourne: Unseeded Svetlana Kuznetsova and Vera Zvonareva won the Australian Open women’s doubles crown on Friday, coming from behind to beat the Italian pair of Roberta Vinci and Sara Errani in three sets.
The Russians overcame a poor start from Zvonareva in particular to win the title 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 on Rod Laver Arena.
The Italians looked far more comfortable at the start of the match, with superior movement and better teamwork.
Vinci and Errani were deadly at the net, intercepting the powerful groundstrokes of the Russians and winning points with deft volleys.
Kuznetsova had to work overtime to keep the Russians in touch as her partner struggled in the face of aggressive play from the Italians.
Both teams struggled to hold serve throughout the opener, with seven service breaks in a row until Errani at last managed to hang onto hers and give the Italians the first set in 54 minutes.
Zvonareva continued to struggle on serve in the second set but the Russians sealed the first break. Zvonareva dropped her own serve when serving for the set at 5-3 but the Russians attacked Vinci and broke to level the match.
Vinci and Errani suddenly looked flat and struggled to cope with the relentless power of their opponents.
They went down an early break as Zvonareva finally began to find some form and were unable to peg it back, Kuznetsova serving out for the win on their third match point.
The title is the second grand slam doubles crown for both Kuznetsova and Zvonareva, though with different partners. Zvonareva also has two mixed doubles titles.