From zero to Aussie Open doubles heroes
Poland’s Lukasz Kubot and Sweden’s Robert Lindstedt have gone from never winning a top-level match together to winning the Australian Open men’s doubles title.
The pair had played just two tennis tournaments together, losing in the first round of both, before entering the Open.
But they capped a fine fortnight by downing American Eric Butorac and South African Raven Klaasen 6-3 6-3 in Saturday night’s final.
Butorac and Klaasen, who won a tournament together in Kuala Lumpur last year, reached the final on the back of some impressive victories.
They downed high-profile Australian pair Pat Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt in straight sets in the opening round.
They also knocked out top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan, who had won the event in six of the past eight years, in straight sets in the third round, the Americans’ earliest exit in more than a decade.
But they were no match for Kubot and Lindstedt, who dominated the final.
Kubot and Lindstedt broke the serve of Klaasen and Butorac once each to claim the first set in just 28 minutes and weren’t troubled on serve themselves.
In the second, they claimed a crucial break in the eighth game, leaving Lindstedt to serve for the match.
He hadn’t dropped a point on his serve before that game.
While he was put under pressure for the first time, going down a break point, he saved that and then he and Kubot closed out the match.
It was the first grand slam title for both members of the winning team, although Lindstedt has been a three-time runner-up at Wimbledon with Romanian Horia Tecau.
Lindstedt, 36, said he had been slated to play with Jurgen Melzer, but the Austrian withdrew with injury before the tournament.
“I had to scramble up a partner in December and I’m thankful that (Kubot) said yes,” he said.