Third mixed doubles world title

At the US Open, Max Mirnyi wins his third mixed double title, while Victoria Azarenko is a footstep away from victory
By Yuri Butrimovich

Max Mirnyi, partnering Czech Andrea Hlavбčkovб, has won the US Open mixed doubles. In the final, Mirnyi and Hlavбčkovб defeated Santiago Gonzбlez (Mexico) and Abigail Spears (US) with a score of 7:6 (5), 6:3. The duel lasted a brief 1 hour and 26 minutes.

Remarkably, Mirnyi has won the US Open mixed doubles for the third time in his career: in 1998, the Belarusian took the title partnering American Serena Williams and in 2007 with Victoria Azarenko. He has also twice won the US Open men’s doubles: partnering Australian Lleyton Hewitt (2000) and Mahesh Bhupathi from India (2002). Max now boasts 10 victories at major tournaments, noting, “After our first joint performance at Wimbledon, I knew it was easier to play with Andrea than with most of my last mixed double partners. She is always searching for the path to victory and is a very positive person. In spite of our being knocked out of Wimbledon in the first round, I wanted to play with her again. She wrote to me, saying: ‘Let’s try once again?’ and I agreed at once.” Of course, the decision has been fully justified.

The US Open women’s single was eagerly awaited by Belarusian fans, since 8th September saw world No.2 seed Victoria Azarenko battle American Serena Williams, ranked first seed. Sadly, the Belarusian suffered defeat in three sets — 5:7, 7:6 (8:6), 1:6. The final at Flushing Meadows was a real battle of wills, proving a gripping end to the Grand Slam season. From the very beginning, both women showed that they were on top form, ready to fight to ‘the death’. The first set lasted almost an hour, and could have easily gone to a tie-break. However, at 5:5, Serena proved more accurate than Vika and won two games successively. The second set began well for Serena, despite persistent resistance from Victoria, who clung to each ball. Williams led 4:1 and needed to win only two games, against five for Azarenko. It seemed that Ms. Williams, 31, would win easily but her 24-year-old rival would not surrender, rescuing a hopeless situation after gaining a tie-break — 8:6. Unfortunately, the last set saw Victoria lose 1:6, perhaps having had her strength and spirits sapped. With 13 of her matches against Vika giving her victory (against just three losses to Victoria) Serena’s experience remains apparent. She now boasts 55 WTA victories, with 17 at Grand Slam tournaments.

This season, Ms. Azarenko won the first Grand Slam tournament, in Australia’s Melbourne, followed by victories in Doha and Cincinnati. During her professional career, which began in 2003, Victoria has won 17 WTA tournaments.
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