Makarova, Vesnina win doubles crown

Fourth-seeded Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina of Russia won their first Grand Slam title together by defeating defending champions Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci of Italy 7-5, 6-2 in the women’s doubles final of the French Open on Sunday.

It was the first major title for Vesnina but the second for Makarova, who won the mixed doubles with Bruno Soares at the US Open last year.

The top-seeded Errani and Vinci were bidding to win a third straight Grand Slam tournament title and their fourth overall. They had beaten Makarova and Vesnina in their four previous meetings.

”We really wanted to beat them finally, because it’s really difficult to play against the same team and (be) losing all the time,” Vesnina said. ”We were not thinking it was a final or a Grand Slam, we were just thinking that we have to beat them.”

Indeed, it didn’t feel like the final of a major with just a couple of hundred spectators in the stands on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Vesnina had previously lost all her Grand Slam finals — three in women’s doubles and three in mixed doubles. Her run of bad luck seemed to continue in the fifth game of the first set when Makarova hit a crosscourt backhand into Vesnina’s back.

”She hit pretty hard,” Vesnina said. ”You know, this tournament she hit me twice already. I have (one) in my head and one in my back.”

Vesnina winced in pain while Makarova looked embarrassed. But the Russians quickly got over it by exchanging a high-five.

Against a resilient Italian team that broke back three times in the first set, Vesnina took Vinci’s serve at 5-5 by hitting a backhand return winner.

The Russians won four straight games in the second set to lead 4-1 and clinched the victory with a smash from Vesnina.

Makarova leaped around at the end of the match while Vesnina fell to her knees. They won the tournament without dropping a set in six matches