Lisa Raymond: Doha 2012
Raymond & Huber 2012 Qatar Total Open Champions
Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond win the doubles championship title – Qatar Total Open 2012 [bettor.com]
Top seeded hot favourite duo of Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond powered its way to glory by outsmarting the unseeded pair of Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears in the final of the Qatar Total Open on Sunday night. The all-American affair took exactly an hour to settle, with Huber and Raymond coming out as the winner in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1, to lift the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) Premier-level trophy in Doha, Qatar.
The combination of Huber and Raymond has been very successful last year and the two Americans keep their heroics in the 2012 season as well. It was their sixth doubles championship title playing together. The Qatar Total Open triumph was more than just a championship victory for Huber, who clinched her 50th WTA doubles title to become the 15th women player in the history of the game to achieve this monumental milestone. Raymond also claimed her 76th doubles title in the Open Era, levelling the numbers with the legendary Jana Novotna on the sixth place for the most titles victories among women.
"It feels great. It feels great," Raymond beamed afterwards. "Coming off a win last week in Paris and to be able to back it up, to come here to Doha and fight through some tough matches, especially at the beginning of the week, it feels great. And to win a convincing final the way we did today, as well."
It was a comprehensively win for the two American veterans, who faced limited resistance from their fellow compatriots in the final showdown. Kops-Jones and Spears proved to be a total mismatch for the brilliance of Huber and Raymond, falling behind the veterans in almost every segment of the game. The American underdogs have been absolutely belligerent throughout the tournament, beating two of the seeded teams en route to the final but couldn’t repeat the similar sort of performances in the big match.
Huber and Raymond exhibited tremendous coordination among them and remained aggressive throughout the contest to force their way to victory. The top seeds registered four out of eight crushing break point conversions to root out their bleak opponents with authority. Kops-Jones and Spears utterly failed to break their rivals in the entire matchup, frittering away four ital break chances to finish on the losing side in the end. Huber and Raymond nailed on breakthrough in the opener and then three successive break point conversions in the second set finished off the proceedings for them with a breadstick in the second round.
Stats Corner: Novotna Vs. Raymond [wtatour.com]
Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond became the first duo with two titles this season when they rolled to victory in the Doha final a week after they were victorious in Paris. It was the sixth title of their almost-year-old partnership and raised their record since the start of last year's US Open to 27-3.
On top of that, it was the 50th career doubles title for Huber, who joined a list of 14 other players in the Open Era who have won at least that many. One of those happens to be Raymond, who now has 76 doubles titles, tied with Jana Novotna for sixth-most.
Here is how the doubles careers of Novotna, who retired in 1999, and Raymond, who has been on the WTA since 1993, compare in other statistical categories:
Notes: Novotna won eight of the 12 matches in which she and Raymond played against each other in doubles ... Novotna and Raymond paried up together once, losing in the final of Los Angeles in '94.
Huber & Raymond On Longevity & Goals [wtatour.com]
DOHA, Qatar - As Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond come to Doha fresh off their first title of the season in Paris and as the No.1-ranked doubles team in the world, it's important to note that one year ago they had never even played a match together - not a single one. How did they make this happen so fast?
"Once Liezel and I came together last April, it was only a matter of time before we were able to establish ourselves as one of the best doubles teams in the world, and hopefully the best doubles team in the world," Raymond said. "We're pretty much at the same point in our careers. We're both veterans, we have the same goals and we both want to win every time we walk onto the court."
"We're very competitive, but we take it day by day," Huber commented. "If you don't start well - in a match or even just on a day - you just work through it, you find a way. We just take everything step by step and try not to look too far ahead. We try to learn from our experiences and keep learning, too."
The American pair, who first joined together at Charleston last April and have collected five WTA titles in all - Toronto, the US Open, Tokyo and the WTA Championships last year, and now Paris this year - are also two of the fittest doubles players out there, as exemplified by their marathon win in last year's US Open final, where they came back from 64 53 down to take the title.
"The older you get the fitter you have to be," Raymond said. "Knock on wood you have to be injury free. I've been very lucky with injuries in my career."
Paris was actually Raymond's 75th career WTA doubles title (she is No.7 on the Open Era leaderboard); it was Huber's 49th (she is No.15 on the list).
"That's a nice number!" Huber said of Raymond's haul of 75.
"I have better perspective on my career now," Raymond said. "Ten years ago did I think I'd be sitting here at my age with 75 titles? I'd probably say no. But the older you get, the more all of these achievements mean to you."
They have both achieved just about everything there is in the doubles arena - loads of titles, multiple Slams, No.1... so what keeps them going?
"It's not why we originally got together and it wasn't the carrot at the end of the stick by any means, but the Olympics is a huge thing for us right now," Huber said. "I hope we win a medal this year. Neither of us has won one before."
"Our goal is to win every match we play, but the Olympics is a huge goal," Raymond added. "There's nothing we haven't achieved except winning a medal."
"Also for us as a team, our goal is to reach No.1 together, and that we are going to do," Huber continued. "That's our first goal right now!"
Raymond was also asked if she was looking towards the next titles milestone, which would be 100. "I'm focused on No.76 right now, that's all!" she said.
Raymond has a few years on Huber - she is 38, Huber 35 - and when asked how long they would keep playing, there didn't seem to be any consensus.
"I know I won't be playing as long as Lisa," Huber said.
"That's what she says now..." Raymond said.
"Having said that, if Lisa's my partner and I'll never play as long as Lisa, I'll never reach as many titles as her," Huber added. "And that's okay!"
Huber will chase career title No.50 and Raymond will chase No.76 at the Qatar Total Open this week. Seeded No.1 and after a first round bye, they will begin their week against Chan Hao-Ching and Rika Fujiwara on Thursday.