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1999 Australian Open IBM

Twice as nice

Hingis, Kournikova capture doubles title Down Under

Click here for more on this story

Posted: Saturday February 20, 1999 03:20 PM

  Martina Hingis (above) and Anna Kournikova fought back from a 5-3 first-set deficit to win the title AP

MELBOURNE, Australia (CNN/SI) -- Calling themselves the Spice Girls of tennis, Martina Hingis and Anna Kournikova, teamed up to win the Australian Open doubles title Friday.

Hingis and Kournikova downed Lindsay Davenport, the world's No. 1 ranked singles player and Natasha Zvereva, the No. 1 ranked doubles player 7-5, 6-3.

For Kournikova, it was her first Grand Slam title, coming on the heels of a singles campaign filled with service woes.

Hingis, who coined the Spice Girls nickname for her and Kournikova earlier this week, picked up a fifth doubles title in a row after winning a Grand Slam of doubles titles last year.

She teamed with Mirjana Lucic to win the Australian Open and added the French, U.S. and Wimbledon titles with Jana Novotna.

Zvereva, who said she would be back next season, "unless I retire," congratulated Kournikova on her breakthrough Slam victory.

"That's her first Grand Slam and I'm sure she's going to have more to come," Zvereva said.

Hingis said she was likely to play with Novotna again in the future.

The match took place under cover at Melbourne Park because of morning rain.

Davenport and Zvereva took a 5-3 lead in the first set by breaking Kournikova's suspect service.

But Hingis and Kournikova won the next four games, breaking both of their rivals in the process.

All four players lost a service game in the second set and Hingis and Kournikova finished it off with their third break off Zvereva in the set. A sharp return from Kournikova set up Hingis for a volley at the net.

The winners, popular with the crowd, embraced midcourt following the final point.

 
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