MELBOURNE, Australia -- Top-ranked Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci rallied to win the last five games and successfully defended their Australian Open women's doubles title with a 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 victory over Russian pair Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina on Friday.
Italians Errani and Vinci are the first women's doubles team to win back-to-back Australian titles since Serena and Venus Williams in 2010.
"For sure I want to thank Roberta because she supports me," Errani said after the match. "We have a lot of tense moments but with her everything is easier."
Four-time Grand Slam-winners Errani and Vinci dominated early, getting two service breaks to jump to a 5-1 in the first set. Makarova and Vesnina fought back to stay in touch, but the Italians held on to serve out the set.
French Open champions Makarova and Vesnina increased the pressure in the second set, going a break up after the second game and again in the sixth as Errani and Vinci succumbed to unforced errors.
Errani and Vinci renewed their focus, and tightened their serve, to break early in the third set, only for the Russians to break back the next game -- and again in the fifth and seventh. The Russian pair twice had chances to serve for the match but were broken.
Errani and Vinci broke back to make it 5-5 before holding and breaking again to close out in the match 2 hours and six minutes.
With the win, Errani and Vinci lead the WTA Road to Singapore doubles standings and retain their No. 1 ranking.