Stosur Lifts Seventh Career Title With Australian Open Doubles Win
Samantha Stosur is an Australian Open champion once more, teaming with Zhang Shuai to win the women's doubles.
Stosur and Zhang were emphatic in their defeat of second seeds and reigning champions Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic, winning 6-3 6-4 in an hour and 36 minutes at Rod Laver Arena on Friday.
Stosur enjoyed her best day in the sport since her 2011 US Open final win over Serena Williams, claiming another Melbourne Park title 14 years after her mixed doubles success with Scott Draper.
The popular Queenslander dropped her racquet on championship point as if in disbelief before embracing her friend at the net.
The victory was a redemption of sorts for the 34-year-old, who with partner Lisa Raymond held championship points to win the same title 13 years ago but failed to convert.
Stosur's resolve was tested several times through the match; none more so than when she double-faulted on her first championship point.
What followed was the point of the match - if not the tournament - a 25-shot rally with both Stosur and Zhang missing a number of smash opportunities before holding steady to win another championship point.
They wouldn't be denied on the next opportunity, claiming their first slam together.
"What a day. What a week. We are so happy and a big dream come true," Stosur said.
"To Shuai my partner, it's always a pleasure being on court with you.
"We have a great friendship and that it always shows ... win the point, lose the point, we're always there for each other."
Crucial to their triumph was a three-from-three break point conversion as Babos and Mladenovic claimed just one of their 11 break point chances.
Stosur was the only player not to be broken during the final but equally Zhang's net play was critical.
The Chinese 30-year-old battled terrifically against the pair of power-hitters.
"(This was an) amazing tournament for me," she said.
"I'm really happy I won the Australian Open in Melbourne with my best friend."
The title is Stosur's seventh major; she has won either women's or mixed doubles titles at each of the four grand slams in addition to the 2011 US Open singles crown.
They each win $350,000 for their fortnight's work.
Babos and Mladenovic, last year's Open winners, knocked Stosur and Zhang out of the US Open last year in the semi-finals.
"Congrats guys, you got your revenge," Babos said, good-naturedly.
Featured Image: AAP