The trophies are on the small side, and neither reads "simple dames," the French phrase for "ladies singles." So despite winning the French Open women's doubles title this afternoon with a 6-3, 6-7 (7-2), 8-6 victory over Martina Hingis and Anna Kournikova, Venus and Serena Williams were still lamenting their eliminations from the singles competition last week.
"Anyone who says they would prefer to win the doubles title would have to be mentally unsound," Serena said. "I'm still pretty bitter and resentful."
The Williamses would have been even more upset if they had lost the doubles title, especially since they lost the second set after they were ahead 5-1 and serving for the match. They rallied in the third set, however, coming back from being down a break to take the match.
The victory gave each of the Williamses her first Grand Slam women's doubles title, although each has won two Grand Slam mixed-doubles titles. (Serena won at Wimbledon and at the U.S. Open in 1998 with Belarus's Max Mirnyi; Venus won at the Australian and French opens in 1998 with American Justin Gimelstob.) They are only the second set of sisters to win a Grand Slam doubles title. In 1890, Grace and Ellen Roosevelt won what is known as the U.S. Open.
"I think at first we were too confident," Venus said of their second-set stumble. "We were like, `Yeah, we're going to get this,' and then after a while we were too tight. We didn't find a happy medium until maybe the third."
Venus was eliminated from the singles competition here by qualifier Barbara Schwartz in the fourth round; Serena lost to Mary Joe Fernandez in the third round.
Hingis reached Saturday's women's singles final, and while she got within three points of winning the title, she eventually fell to Steffi Graf. That match left Hingis in tears and with a $1,500 fine for unsportsmanlike conduct. While she looked a bit flat at the start of today's match, she was much more composed. She also thanked Kournikova, who comforted her in the locker room after Saturday's match.
"You can't sleep after you lose a match like that -- there is not much hope," Hingis said. "But still, for the doubles today, it was just a normal rhythm. And I knew with Anna playing, that gave me my other motivation. If I would have played with somebody else, I probably wouldn't go, but for Anna, yes."
India's Grand Slam
Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes earned India's first Grand Slam championship, winning the French Open men's doubles final with a 6-2, 7-5 victory over Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia and Jeff Tarango of the United States. . . . Graf will play in Wimbledon's mixed-doubles competition with John McEnroe. The pair will get a wild-card invitation from the All England Club.
CAPTION: Venus, foreground, and Serena Williams, who beat Martina Hingis and Anna Kournikova, become second set of sisters to win Grand Slam doubles title.