Chinese doubles team wins country's first Grand Slam

Updated: January 27, 2006, 4:17 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Zheng Jie and Yan Zi became China's first Grand Slam winners on Friday, upsetting top seeds Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur in the Australian Open women's doubles final.

Yan and Zheng, who both won singles tournaments last year and were seeded 12th in the doubles at Melbourne, came from a set down and saved two match points in a second set tie-break before going on to win 2-6 7-6 6-3.

"We feel very excited and very happy," Yan told reporters. "Little bit nervous. Because first time in the centre court. It's so big and so many people."

Yan said the match, which was broadcast in China, would help strengthen the game there, although it was too early to tell if their win would have any impact on the Beijing Olympics.

"It will be good for Chinese tennis," Yan said through an interpreter.

"In the near future, we think we could be better, make progress, improve a lot, and it can stimulate (tennis)."

Australia's Stosur and American Raymond had been seeking their second successive grand slam title after winning the U.S. Open in New York last year.

The last doubles pair to win successive grand slam titles was Virginia Ruano Pascal and Paola Suarez, who won the 2003 U.S. Open, 2004 Australian Open and 2004 French Open.

China has been making big strides in women's tennis in recent years, highlighted by Li Ting and Sun Tiantian's victory in the women's doubles at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

They have also won three WTA singles titles in the past two seasons.

"There's so many Chinese girls now," Raymond told a news conference.

"When I first started playing, I couldn't name one, you know, 10, 12 years ago. Now there's, I don't know how many were in the main draw here? And they have two very good doubles teams now."

Information from The Associated Press and Reuters was used in this report.

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