Williams sisters earn fourth straight doubles title

SISTERS Serena and Venus completed a 'Williams slam' of four consecutive grand slam doubles titles when they beat Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik 6-2 6-3 yesterday to win the French Open.

The Americans wrapped up victory in 73 minutes to win their 12th grand slam title together, adding the trophy to the ones they won at Wimbledon and the US Open last year and at the Australian Open in January. "It feels good – we have a Williams Slam," Serena said. "We've four in a row now so we were really excited about that."

The top seeds are only the third doubles partnership in the history of the women's game to hold all four grand slam titles at the same time. Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver did it in 1983-84, and Gigi Fernandez and Natasha Zvereva managed the feat in 1992-93. They will become the top-ranked doubles pairing for the first time on Monday, making Serena Williams only the sixth woman to hold top spot in the singles and doubles at the same time.

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Both suffered surprise defeats in the singles at Roland Garros, Serena losing to Samantha Stosur in the quarter-finals and Venus beaten by Russia's Nadia Petrova in round four. The sisters said they had no plans to play doubles more regularly on the women's tour, but will continue to play together at the grand slam events. Next stop for both of them will be Wimbledon, where they have won the doubles four times, their last victory coming in 2009. Serena, the defending champion in the singles, said they would stick to their usual routine as they head to London. "We have the same prep every year," she said. "Just hit on the hard courts and play Wimbledon. That's our grasscourt season. One grasscourt tournament and we try to play very well. Nothing special."

The Americans have now won six of the last eight grand slam doubles crowns. And while they can't recall the exact first match they played together, they do know they've been "playing since the '80s", and Serena remembers her father's coaching tips from those early years. "He told Venus that she had to cross more, and so I think she got upset and she crossed when the person was serving. She ended up volleying the serve. Oh, it was so funny. I remember my dad, he's so positive. He's like, Oh, no, no, Venus, not that. Just wait until after the serve. I promise you every tournament I think about that when we're in doubles."