MELBOURNE, Australia -- Elena Likhovtseva of Russia won her
second Grand Slam mixed doubles title Sunday, teaming with Daniel
Nestor in a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Max Mirnyi and Victoria Azarenka
of Belarus at the Australian Open.
Likhovtseva and Nestor were down a break in the second set after
winning the first before breaking back in the fifth game.
"We played a tough team," said Nestor, a Canadian. "They seem
to be winning all your matches pretty easily. We were a little bit
worried about that, but we stuck to our game and we executed
It was the first win in three Grand Slam finals appearances for
the unseeded pair, who were runners-up in the Australian and French
Opens last year.
Nestor won the 2002 Australian Open and 2004 U.S. Open men's
doubles titles, both with Mark Knowles of the Bahamas. Likhovtseva
won the 2002 Wimbledon mixed doubles title with India's Mahesh
Mirnyi was playing his second doubles final in as many days. He
and Sweden's Jonas Bjorkman lost to American twins Mike and Bob
Bryan on Saturday.
Azarenka is 17 and beginning her career while Mirnyi is a
29-year-old tour veteran. The wild-car pair beat top-seeded
Americans Bob Bryan and Lisa Raymond and fourth-seeded Bjorkman and
Italian Francesca Schiavone to reach the final.
The 31-year-old Likhovtseva turned professional in 1992 and
considered retirement at the end of last year.
"I've been on the tour for a long time, and I just decided that
I should start doing something different," she said. "But then I
thought, if I still enjoy it ... I should maybe go another year."