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Errani and Vinci on course for the full Slam set

Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci celebrate on court
by Michael Beattie
Friday 4 July 2014

Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci are one match away from a doubles career Grand Slam after reaching their first Wimbledon final.

The Italian duo struck early in each set to run away with a 6-3, 6-2 semi-final victory over Andrea Hlavackova and Zheng Jie to remain on course to become just the fifth ladies partnership to win all four Grand Slams.

Errani and Vinci, the two-time reigning Australian Open champions will face Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic in the final knowing they have a chance to write their names alongside some of the greats in women’s tennis.

Having won the French and US Opens in 2012, a fifth Grand Slam title together at The Championships would see them become the first pair to complete their Grand Slam set since Venus and Serena Williams in 2001.

“We’re trying not to think too much about that,” insisted Errani, who with Vinci could also join Australians Margaret Court and Lesley Turner Bowrey, American duo Kathy Jordan and Anne Smith, Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver, and Gigi Fernandez and Natasha Zvereva. “We’re trying to focus on our game, our match, and then we will see after the final.”

Zheng and Hlavackova’s fleet-footed court coverage had carried them past Lucie Safarova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the last eight, but they had no answer to the No.2 seeds’ intensity and industry out on Court 12. Throughout The Championships, Errani and Vinci have swarmed forward to dominate the net whenever possible, overwhelming their opponents from the outset, consciously adapting their approach to suit the Wimbledon lawns.

“We’re more aggressive,” Errani admitted. “We’re trying to do different things that last year we didn’t try. We have to be much more aggressive and change a bit our normal game that we are playing on other surfaces.”

Zheng, the designated defender in her pairing with Hlavackova, gave up a hard-fought break after a lengthy second game, and while the Chinese-Czech pair had chances to break back in a similarly tight third game, Vinci held firm to open up a 3-0 lead. Hlavackova got the No.9 seeds back on course with a break back in the seventh game, only to undo her good work by netting a forehand with the court at her mercy en route to an immediate break back by the Italians.

When Zheng was broken once more at the start of the second set, Errani and Vinci seemed set to run away with the match. To their credit, their opponents forced them to dig deep and produce some sparkling doubles tennis to escape from a number of tight games, but Vinci’s deft touch at the net set her apart on the court as Errani and Hlavackova traded blows from the baseline. A second break followed, and when Hlavackova steered a forehand return wide on match point the 68-minute contest was over.

Year-end doubles No.1s in 2012 and 2013, Errani and Vinci were also at the heart of Italy’s Fed Cup triumph in 2013. The key to their success, says Vinci, is their understanding both on court and off.

“We know each other very well – we are very friendly outside of the court. It’s important to know each other too on the court, and feel good. We know how to help each other, I think this is a very important thing.”

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