Morariu, Ferreira capture mixed doubles title
Updated: Thursday February 08, 2001 4:56 PM
MELBOURNE, Australia (CNNSI) -- Corina Morariu gave herself a late birthday present by teaming with Ellis Ferreira to beat Joshua Eagle and Barbara Schett 6-1, 6-3 Sunday and win the Australian Open mixed doubles championship.
It was the second Grand Slam tournament trophy for each of the winners. Morariu and Lindsay Davenport won the women's doubles at Wimbledon in 1999. Ferreira and Rick Leach won the men's doubles last year at the Australian Open against Wayne Black and Andrew Kratzmann, and their 18-16 fifth set, which lasted two hours, was twice as long as Sunday's entire match.
On Morariu's 23rd birthday Friday, she and Davenport let a 3-1 lead slip away in the final set and lost the women's doubles final to American compatriots Venus and Serena Williams.
"I got a little belated birthday," Morariu said in accepting her mixed doubles trophy. "This makes up for Friday."
After last year's men's doubles final, Ferreira said, "this was nice to win a big match like this that convincingly. It's very rare."
Morariu said she had asked the 30-year-old South African shortly before the Open to be her mixed doubles partner, although "he doesn't have a very good reputation for putting in 100 percent effort in mixed. ... But he played great, obviously."
Ferreira said the problem in the past was that in mixed, "I always felt that I had to do more. I would miss shots and get frustrated with myself."
Morariu was such a good partner, he added, that he was able to play the same way he would in men's doubles.
On the question of whether the men in mixed doubles blasted their heaviest shots at the women, Ferreira said, "The people we've played with have all played in the good spirit of the game."
Possibly thinking of the powerful Williams sisters, Morariu interjected: "Women's doubles can be a little brutal sometimes anyway, so the girls are kind of used to it."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.