News & Press

Monday, April 05, 2010

Unseeded Dulko, Pennetta take women's doubles title

When Gisela Dulko and doubles partner Flavia Pennetta saw the draw for the Sony Ericsson Open, their hearts sank.

Veterans Svetlana Kuznetsova and Alicia Molik in the first round, followed by a potential second-round match against No. 2 seeds Nuria Llagostera Vives and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez. Then, if they got past that, No. 4 seeds Lisa Raymond and Rennae Stubbs loomed.

But the unseeded Dulko and Pennetta said they played better round by round, and Sunday they surprised themselves in the final with a 6-3, 4-6 (10-7 super tiebreak) win over No. 3 seeds Nadia Petrova and Samantha Stosur.

``This is our first big title together,'' said Dulko, who before this year had advanced to the second round here only three times in eight visits. ``We won a few titles before, but this is the most important. It feels great. We enjoyed the week a lot.''

Dulko, of Argentina, and Pennetta, of Italy, are close friends. When they weren't playing, they were at the beach together, shopping together and eating almost all of their meals together.

``We were like sisters here,'' Pennetta said.

Petrova and Stosur seemed to have momentum on their side after winning the second set, but the super-tiebreak format allows both teams to start anew, and that worked in Dulko and Pennetta's favor.

``With the super tiebreak, anything can happen,'' Pennetta said. ``You always have to be ready to come back, because it is never finished. You can lose four or five games and still be in the match.''

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