Hingis-Kournikova Win Australian Open Doubles
By Tony Harper
Associated Press Writer
Friday, January 29, 1999; 12:42 a.m. EST MELBOURNE, Australia Martina Hingis and Anna Kournikova, calling themselves the Spice Girls of tennis, combined to win the Australian Open doubles title Friday.
Hingis and Kournikova beat the team of No. 1 singles player Lindsay Davenport and No. 1-ranked doubles player Natasha Zvereva 7-5, 6-3.
It was Kournikova's first Grand Slam title, coming at the end of a disappointing singles campaign marked by service woes.
"It feels great,'' said Kournikova. "I was really lucky to play with Martina and it's a great tradition. She won her first Grand Slam also in doubles and then won many singles ones so I'm looking forward to that.''
Hingis, who coined the Spice Girls nickname for her and Kournikova earlier this week, won a Grand Slam of doubles titles last year and a fifth doubles title in a row Friday.
She teamed with Mirjana Lucic to win the Australian Open and added the French, U.S. and Wimbledon titles with Jana Novotna.
Lucic, 16, is now in a slump, having slipped from 32 last year to 52.
"Mirjana is a great player and everything but right now she has to set up her mind and then she can play good tennis again,'' said Hingis. "But right now it was the better choice playing with Anna.''
Zvereva congratulated Kournikova on her breakthrough Slam victory.
"That's her first Grand Slam and I'm sure she's going to have more to come,'' Zvereva said.
Hingis said she was likely to play with Novotna at the next three Slams.
The match took place under cover at Melbourne Park because of morning rain.
Davenport and Zvereva took a 5-3 lead in the first set by breaking Kournikova's suspect service.
But Hingis and Kournikova won the next four games, breaking both of their rivals in the process.
All four players lost a service game in the second set and Hingis and Kournikova finished it off with their third break off Zvereva in the set. A sharp return from Kournikova set up Hingis for a volley at the net.
The winners, popular with the crowd, embraced midcourt following the final point.
© Copyright 1999 The Associated Press