Raymond, Stosur Defend Title
MADRID, Spain - The world's most consistent doubles team this year, Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur, finished its remarkable 2006 campaign in high fashion, defeating No.3 seeds Cara Black and Rennae Stubbs, 36 63 63, in Sunday's final to collect its second consecutive Sony Ericsson Championships doubles title at Madrid Arena.
"The entire tournament, everything about it has been wonderful," Raymond said. "The city has embraced us and embraces the tennis. They've come out to support the tennis and everyone who was behind the tournament was so well organized from the beautiful hotel that we stayed in to this facility.
"I've played in New York, LA and in Munich," Raymond added, "and they all had their positives, but this as a whole was just hands down the best."
The match was a repeat of last year's final when Raymond and Stosur overcame a 5-2 second set deficit against the Zimbabwean-Australian combination to eventually prevail, 67(5) 75 64. Even though the two teams are only two spots apart in the rankings, Raymond and Stosur dominate the head-to-head series, 8-1, including 4-0 this year. The American-Australian duo captured 10 Tour doubles titles this season, sporting an impressive 59-13 record.
After losing the Australian Open final, they won 18 consecutive matches and held a four-tournament win streak (Tokyo [Pan Pacific], Memphis, Indian Wells and Miami), snapped in Amelia Island. They rebounded quickly by winning Charleston and their second Grand Slam title together at Roland Garros. Even though they did not win a title at the next six events, they became strong again toward the end of the season, winning Stuttgart, Linz and Hasselt.
Black and Stubbs were gunning for their first season-ending championships title in three attempts. Black has qualified seven times but never won the title. Stubbs has managed to qualify 11 times and was victorious in 2001 with former partner Raymond.
"It's never easy to play against someone you used to play with," Raymond said. "Like Rennae, we're very good friends. We had a lot of success together. But you go on the court and it's a match and it's business and she wants to win as much as I do."
Black and Stubbs were contesting their 50th event together. They own a 108-39 lifetime record, with eleven titles as a team. The duo spent the majority of the 2006 season together, winning titles at San Diego and Zurich and finishing runner-up at Gold Coast, Tokyo [Pan Pacific], Paris [Indoors] and Stuttgart.