Williams Sisters Win Australian Open Doubles

Venus and Serena Williams completed a Grand Slam of doubles crowns today by winning the Australian title — but said it was no compensation for their failure in the singles.

The sisters, a wild-card entry, beat fellow Americans Lindsay Davenport and Corina Morariu, the seventh seeds, 6-2,4-6, 6-4, in the final on Rod Laver Arena court.

The victory added to the 1999 French and U.S. Opens and 2000 Wimbledon, completes the Grand Slam for the Williamses.

Both Sisters Had Lost to Hingis in Singles

Serena and Venus were both knocked out of the singles competition by top seed Martina Hingis, at the quarterfinal and semifinal stage.

But their combined force proved too much for Davenport and Morariu.

The sisters conceded an early break of serve to trail, 1-3, in the deciding set, but hit back to break their opponents' serve in the sixth game and once more to close out the match after one hour, 46 minutes.

The pair, who teamed up to claim Olympic gold in Sydney last autumn, claimed the winners' check of $186,000.

Davenport and Morariu, who was celebrating her 23rd birthday today, collected $93,000 as runners-up.

Perfect Partners

Venus said: "I want to thank the Australian Open committee for giving us a wild-card — because our doubles ranking wasn't good enough to get us in the draw!

"But we should qualify for a ranking after this tournament, and it will be interesting to see where we enter."

Serena, who has shrugged off the bout of gastro-enteritis which had bothered her during her quarterfinal singles defeat to Hingis, added: "This is no consolation at all for losing in the singles.

"We both want to be known as singles players. But you have to recognize that she [Hingis] just played very well.

"The doubles is a different competition altogether, and make no mistake, we are both very happy to have won here."

Venus said Serena made the perfect partner.

"I think we love playing with each other," the elder sister said. "We have a great understanding — I know that no matter what I do, Serena will always be there for me."