Originally created 01/25/03

Williams sisters win doubles



MELBOURNE, Australia -- The Williams sisters teamed up for an Australian Open title a day before they played against each other for the singles championship.

Serena and Venus Williams won their sixth Grand Slam doubles title Friday, rallying from a set and break down to beat second-seeded Virginia Ruano Pascual and Paola Suarez 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

"We want to dedicate this win to Mom," Venus said. "Thanks Mom, we love you and you've been there all the way and we'll be there for you, I promise."

Team Williams beat Ruano Pascual and Suarez 6-2, 7-5 in the Wimbledon final last year.

The sisters also won the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2000, and the French Open and U.S. Open in 1999.

Argentina's Suarez and Spain's Ruano Pascual have won three major doubles titles together.

"I hope next year Venus and Serena don't play, and we can win the championship," Suarez said.

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A GRAND GRAND SLAM: Martina Navratilova is aiming for a Grand Grand Slam of sorts.

She teamed with Leander Paes to reach the Australian Open mixed doubles final - her first major final in almost eight years. The 46-year-old Navratilova and Paes will face Todd Woodbridge and Eleni Daniilidou for the title.

If Navratilova's duo wins, she will become the third player in tennis history - man or woman - to win at least one singles, one doubles and one mixed doubles at each of the four Grand Slam tournaments: Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, U.S. Open.

Margaret Smith Court and Doris Hart already have done it.

Navratilova won her 56th Grand Slam title in 1995, teaming with Jonathan Stark to win the mixed doubles at Wimbledon. She won the last of her 18 major singles titles at Wimbledon in 1990.

Overall, she has a record 167 WTA Tour singles titles and 166 doubles championships.

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TEST TIME: By the end of the Australian Open on Sunday, the International Tennis Federation will have collected samples for 120 drug tests.

All players selected for the tests will give urine samples. The International Tennis Federation wouldn't say how many will give blood samples.

This is the first time blood testing is taking place at an international tennis tournament for the endurance-enhancing substance erythropoietin (EPO).

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CUP RUNNETH OVER: Billie Jean King can expect an e-mail in the next few days with news she wants to hear: Serena and Venus Williams plan to play in the Fed Cup.

Serena, the tour's top-ranked player, said Friday she had not yet spoken with King, the captain of the U.S. team.

"I do plan on playing," she said. "I'll try to e-mail her or try to get in contact with her. But, yeah, I planned it."

Venus, Serena's older sister, also wants to take part.

"I really would like to. If everything goes well - healthy, happy - I want to be there," Venus said.

The United States plays the Czech Republic in the first round April 26-27 at Lowell, Mass.