Work in Sports
Thwarted at three
Hingis, Pierce fall in women's doubles final
Posted: Saturday January 29, 2000 12:00 AM
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) -- Rennae Stubbs and Lisa Raymond grabbed their first Grand Slam doubles title Friday, breaking Martina Hingis' three-year stranglehold of the Australian Open and then demanding some respect.
The No. 1 seeded pair beat Hingis and Mary Pierce 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, turning the pro-Hingis crowd in their favor in the third with some acrobatic tumbles and energetic rallying.
Hingis, who has won both singles and doubles titles at the last three Australian Opens, shanked a return on match point to surrender a championship title at Melbourne Park for the first time since 1997.
After the match, Stubbs said it was "great to beat Hingis" so that the world No. 1 could "know how the humans feel."
The 28-year-old Australian also said Hingis should learn to give her opponents some credit instead of focusing on how poorly she played.
"All she kept telling me was how bad she played today, 'Have you ever seen me play so bad?' I mean, how about a little credit," she said. "It's so annoying -- we fought so hard and we pressured them and we poached, we deserved it."
For Raymond it was sweet revenge for three heartbreaking losses to Hingis in Melbourne, including the final in 1997 and semifinal losses in '98 and '99.
Stubbs and Raymond combined to win five doubles titles last year but had never won a major.
"I think last year we pretty much made a statement that we thought we were No. 1 in the world as a team but we just never really performed in a Grand Slam," said the 26-year-old American.
"We just weren't able to put it together for two weeks ... [but] to do it here and especially for Rennae in her home country, in front of her family and friends -- it's awesome."
Later Friday in a mixed doubles semifinal, Stubbs combined with American Jared Palmer to oust the top-seeded Jonas Bjorkman of Sweden and Anna Kournikova of Russia 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 and move into Sunday's final.
Hingis said she made too many mistakes to count on winning the doubles final.
"I didn't feel that great out there," she said. "I didn't think I played the way I can play."
Raymond and Stubbs grabbed the early advantage by breaking Hingis' serve twice and clinched the first set when Pierce put an overhead smash into the net.
Hingis and Pierce won the next, despite surrendering a 5-2 lead, to level the scores at a set apiece.
After an exchange of service breaks in the third, Stubbs and Raymond had two match points on Pierce's serve at 5-3 but the Frenchwomen held to go 5-4.
Serving for the match, Stubbs clawed back from 15-30 to set up another match point with a strong serve to go 40-30. She closed out with a big serve forcing Hingis into a return error.
Going into the final, Hingis was unbeaten in 23 doubles matches at the Australian Open.
She combined with Natasha Zvereva to win in '97 , edging Lindsay Davenport and Raymond in the decider.
In '98 she teamed-up with Mirjana Lucic to beat Davenport and Zvereva in the final and last year she partnered Anna Kournikova to again edge Davenport and Svereva 7-5, 6-3 in the decider.
Hingis, who is unbeaten in singles since Jan. 24, 1996 -- when she lost to Amanda Coetzer in the quarterfinals -- will play Davnport in the singles final Saturday.