DOHA, Qatar - Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta put an exclamation point on their remarkable 2010 season by edging second-seeded Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik, 75 64, in the doubles final of the season-ending WTA Championships - Doha 2010.
Dulko and Pennetta faced set point at 4-5 in the first set, but Pennetta conjured up a strong first serve that drew a forehand return error from Peschke; Dulko and Pennetta then went on an eight point tear, winning the next two games at love and tucking away the opening set.
The second set stayed on serve until the fifth, sixth and seventh games, all of which were breaks - with Srebotnik, Pennetta and Peschke all losing serve. but Dulko never did, leaving the No.1 seeds up a break the rest of the set - Pennetta served it out, building a 40-0 lead and cliching it on the second match point.
"We never expected to be here," Pennetta said on court after the match. "It's amazing to be here, and especially with Gisela here with me, it's just unbelievable."
Even though Dulko and Pennetta are now 4-0 this year against the second-seeded Peschke and Srebotnik, with three of the victories coming in finals, all of the matches have been close, with no set having more of a deficit than 6-3.
"I'm so happy. I can't believe it," said Dulko, who will rise to No.1 on the individual doubles rankings on Monday. "We've had such a good year and to finish like this is unbelievable. I'm so happy and so proud right now. And I'd like to thank Flavia for all of her support over the years."
Dulko and Pennetta's WTA-leading seven titles have come in Miami, Stuttgart, Rome, Bastad, Montréal, Moscow and now Doha, leading to them being named the top doubles team of the year earlier this week. They also have runner-up showings at Madrid and Beijing. Peschke and Srebotnik also made nine finals this year, but they only won two of them - Indian Wells and New Haven.
Neither Dulko, nor Pennetta had ever appeared in the season-ending Championships before. It was Peschke's fourth and Srebotnik's fifth appearance, though their first as a duo.
"We're very happy despite the loss today," Srebotnik said. "We felt this would be our title but we have to give credit to Gisela and Flavia; they played so well and no doubt deserve it. The better team won today. We are happy to have been in the final, though - it was really a great achievement for us."