Italians Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci are the Australian Open 2013 women’s doubles champions, with the top seeds combining to end the fairytale run of Australian wildcards Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua ,winning 6-2 3-6 6-2 at Rod Laver Arena on Friday.
It is the Italians’ third major title together, following their 2012 French Open and 2012 US Open triumphs, and betters their runner-up finish at last year’s Australian Open.
Barty and Dellacqua had been the surprise packets of the tournament, storming through the draw without dropping a set and becoming the first all-Australian pair to reach the final since 1977.
At just 16 years of age and playing in her first grand slam final, Barty showed no nerves early, hitting a volley winner on the opening point of the match.
The more-experienced Italian pair soon got on top, breaking Dellacqua’s serve twice as they took the opening set in 29 minutes.
Vinci and Errani had too many answers for the Australian pairing, committing only three unforced errors for the set compared to their opponents’ 14.
Dellacqua again dropped serve early in the second set, and it looked as though Errani and Vinci were closing in on a comfortable win. But the Australians dug deep, breaking back in the next game to get back into the match.
The confidence of Dellacqua and Barty was growing, and they broke Errani’s serve in the eighth game to grab a 5-3 lead before Barty served out the set.
The Australians had lifted, and the crowd was being treated to some spectacular doubles action, with all four players impressing with their net play and some brilliantly well-placed lobs.
With the crowd now getting behind them, Barty and Dellacqua broke in the opening game of the final set, and it looked like an upset could be on the cards.
The Italians had other plans though, breaking straight back. Their experience shone through as they won five of the last six games to take it 6-2 in 30 minutes.
Barty, who showed great poise throughout the match, said she was disappointed not to take the title.
“It felt like we were really close in that match, a lot closer than the score suggested,” she said. “A point here and there and I think that third set could have really turned. “
Dellacqua congratulated Errani and Vinci, the first all-Italian team to win the Australian Open women’s title, on their victory.
“They're obviously the No. 1 team in the world. They're there for a reason,” Dellacqua said.