Lisa Raymond: Tokyo 2011
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Raymond & Huber 2011 Toray Pan Pacific Open Champions
Australian Open, US Open Champs To Vie For Title [wtatour.com]
TOKYO, Japan - Top-seeded Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond will take on second-seeded Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta in the final of the Toray Pan Pacific Open after each team advanced in very different fashion Friday.
Huber and Raymond were down a break at 2-1 in the first set when No.4 seeds Victoria Azarenka and Maria Kirilenko had to retire due to an Azarenka right Achilles injury, originally suffered in practice. The Americans have a nine match winning streak going, which began at the US Open, where they captured their first Grand Slam.
"The first couple of matches this week, we just went out there and continued our play from the US Open," Raymond said. "That's kind of what our goal was. Let's just get right back out there and pick up where we left off in New York. Obviously, it's unfortunate what happened to Vika today. You never want to win any kind of match on a retirement."
As for Dulko and Pennetta, they rallied from a 64 31 deficit to survive third-seeded Vania King and Yaroslava Shvedova, 46 63 108, and advance to their first final since the Australian Open, where they won their first major and upped their record in finals to 11-4.
"We were down pretty much the whole match," Dulko said. "They were very tough opponents. At the end we were a little bit nervous, but we closed it out and we are very happy."
This will be the 10th final this year featuring the Top 2 seeds, with No.1 seeds being 6-3 so far. In their only previous match-up, Huber and Raymond edged Dulko and Pennetta in the semifinals of Toronto en route to their first title.
"They're a very tough team. They played very well in their semi," said Raymond, who will be going for her fifth title in Tokyo, having won two with Samantha Stosur and two with Rennae Stubbs. "We played them in Canada earlier this summer and got a win under our belt there. It's going to be a tough match."
Huber & Raymond Into SFs, Streak Still Alive [wtatour.com]
TOKYO, Japan - Americans Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond raced into the semifinals of the Toray Pan Pacific Open on Thursday morning, needing just 62 minutes to make it past Chan Yung-Jan and Julia Goerges, 63 62.
Huber and Raymond, the No.1 seeds at the Premier-level tournament, asserted their dominance early, winning the first five games of the match. Chan and Goerges picked it up for a short period, closing the gap to 5-3 before losing the set then moving out to a 2-0 lead in the second set, but Huber and Raymond went on another tear from there, winning six games in a row to close it.
It was a dream summer for Huber and Raymond, who not only won their first WTA title together in Toronto, but followed that up with their first Grand Slam title together at the US Open. The win in New York held special meaning for both - Huber returned to the No.1 ranking, and at age 38 Raymond became the "most experienced" woman to win a Grand Slam doubles title in the Open Era.
Next up for Huber and Raymond will be No.4 seeds Victoria Azarenka and Maria Kirilenko, who crushed Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears in just 55 minutes, 60 61. "Singles is of course my priority, but Maria and I have been playing so well together this season," Azarenka said. "We have a chance to qualify for the Championships and we're trying to push to make the spot. To make it there in both singles and doubles would be remarkable for me."
Huber and Raymond have split their two previous meetings with Azarenka and Kirilenko, both this year - they won in the quarterfinals of the French Open, 64 46 64, but lost in the final of Stanford, 61 63. They were supposed to meet again in the final of Toronto but Azarenka pulled out beforehand with a hand injury.
Squaring off in the other semi will be No.2 seeds Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta and No.3 seeds Vania King and Yaroslava Shvedova. Dulko and Pennetta were devastating during a 61 61 victory over Irina-Camelia Begu and Anastasia Rodionova, needing just 43 minutes to dispatch the Romanian-Australian pairing. King and Shvedova had a tougher battle but prevailed over Natalie Grandin and Vladimira Uhlirova, 64 64. Grandin and Uhlirova were fresh off their first WTA doubles title as a team over in Seoul on the weekend.
"Vania and I hadn't played together since the US Open and our first match was difficult, so we're really happy to be in the semifinals," Shvedova said after the match. "We were a little bit tired after our first match but I had the day off yesterday and we focused well today. We're looking forward to the semifinals."
Dulko and Pennetta have split two career meetings with King and Shvedova, both last year - they lost to them in the quarterfinals of the US Open, 63 63, but got revenge in the semifinals of the WTA Championships, 64 64.
Huber & Raymond Roll In Round 1 In Tokyo [wtatour.com]
TOKYO, Japan - US Open champions Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond and runners-up Vania King and Yaroslava Shvedova were each victorious at the Toray Pan Pacific Open on Tuesday in the first match for each duo since their memorable final at Flushing Meadows.
Huber and Raymond had the easier path to the quarterfinals, handling Japanese wildcards Rika Fujiwara and Ayumi Morita, 61 63. "Great crowd out watching our doubles today," Raymond tweeted. "Fun getting back out there!"
Although this is the first time the Americans are playing this event together, Raymond has quite a history here with other partners, highlighted by two titles alongside Samantha Stosur and two with Rennae Stubbs. Next up for the No.1 seeds are Chan Yung-Jan and Julia Goerges.
As for third-seeded King and Shvedova, they survived a battle with Hsieh Su-Wei and Zheng Jie. King and Shvedova started the match in a 5-0 hole, eventually losing the first set, 6-2. They were a game away from defeat at 5-4 in the second but Shvedova held serve. They also faced a 4-2 deficit in the tie-break before reeling off five straight points. Then in the match tie-break, King and Shvedova's 5-1 lead evaporated into a 9-9 tie before they prevailed, 26 76(4) 119.
It was an especially good day for King, a champion here in 2008 with Nadia Petrova, as she upset No.11 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in singles.
Wednesday's doubles schedule is highlighted by second-seeded Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta facing off with defending champions Iveta Benesova and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.