Nenad Zimonjic and Sam Stosur had competed together just once before, but collective experience was undoubtedly a factor as they combined to claim the 2014 Wimbledon mixed doubles title with a 6-4, 6-2 triumph over Max Mirnyi and Hao-Ching Chan.
A former world No.1 doubles player on the WTA Tour, Stosur is a winner of two Major women’s doubles titles and claimed the 2008 Wimbledon mixed doubles title with Bob Bryan. Zimonjic is a three-time Major men’s doubles champion and had claimed every other Grand Slam mixed doubles title except Wimbledon.
“I’m glad she said yes (to the partnership),” Zimonjic said. “Glad we took this chance. This is the Slam that I missed. In the mixed doubles she won it before with Bob. So thanks.”
It took less than an hour for the experienced No.15 seeds, from Australia and Serbia, to defeat their No.14-seeded opponents, highlighting a synergy that quickly became apparent this Wimbledon.
A combination of superb net play from Zimonjic and strong serving from Stosur helped their progression, the toughest test occurring in the third round against Eric Butorac and Timea Babos, where they scraped through with an 8-6 victory in the third set.
The final was a far smoother victory, with Stosur and Zimonjic striking the first significant blow when they broke the Mirnyi serve in the ninth game of the first set. Mirnyi and Chan, from Belarus and China, would have loved to find the form that saw them eliminate defending champions Daniel Nestor and Kristina Mladenovic in the semi-finals.
They couldn’t convert their one break point opportunity, on Stosur’s serve early in the second set, with their authority further diminished when Chan failed to hold both of her service games in that set.
“The team we are, I think it doesn't matter who is on the other side. If we are playing good, we can win against anyone on that day,” said Zimonjic. “We controlled the matches from the beginning till the end, and it was a lot of fun to be on the court with Sam.
“She has an unbelievable serve. She can serve any type of serve in any part of the box. She is very solid from the back. Big forehands. At the net, you know, she's very comfortable,” said Zimonjic of their compatibility.
“I think all these things are really, really important. First time I've seen Sam was in the Australian Open when I lost to her in mixed. I said, I have to ask her. I have to play with her. She's going to be a great partner.”
For Stosur, the mixed doubles triumph provided a happy ending to a tournament that had ended with a first round loss in the singles, and a third round exit in the women’s doubles.
“I feel like I kind of played three different tournaments,” said the Australian. ”It’s always nice to leave a tournament winning. Leaving Wimbledon 2014, I'll think of it as, yeah, a great memory, and leaving with a trophy at the end is fantastic.”
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