It seems fitting that Sara Errani is poised to take over the no. 1 ranking in women's doubles. Errani has put together a brilliant 2012 season in both doubles and singles play.
Her latest triumph came when Errani and fellow Italian Roberta Vinci earned a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka on Sunday to claim the 2012 U.S. Open women's doubles title. It is the second Grand Slam doubles title for Errani and Vinci this year. The duo also won the women's doubles title at the 2012 French Open for their first major title.
The most impressive part of Errani's doubles accomplishments is that she has also enjoyed a breakout year in singles competition. Errani reached the final at the French Open before falling 6-3, 6-2 to eventual champ Maria Sharapova. She reached the semifinals at the U.S. Open before falling 6-1, 6-2 to Serena Williams.
Errani started off the year strong at the 2012 Australian Open. It marked the first time in her career she had reached the quarterfinals of any of the four Grand Slams in singles play. Errani and Vinci did even better in doubles. They made it all the way to the final before losing to Russian duo Svetlana Kuznetsova and Vera Zvonareva 7-5, 4-6, 3-6 in the championship match.
Her performance at the U.S. Open provided an unexpected historical milestone for Errani. When she made it to the semifinal match against Williams, she became the first Italian woman during the Open Era to advance that far into the U.S. Open. Ironically, she beat her double teammate Vinci in the quarterfinals to make it to that point.
It isn't likely to be the last time Errani goes that far. She lacks the size and height many of her competitors enjoy, but makes up for it with a fiery attitude and tireless work ethic.
Errani credits much of her recent success to a racket switch she made before the start of the season. Her new racket is an inch longer and slightly heavier than her old one. Playing with a longer and heavier racket has made it easier for Errani to put more power into her shots and extend her reach on the court. The results have been visible improvements to her serve and her forehand shots.
Errani's success means she will ascend to no. 1 in women's doubles when the new world rankings are released on Monday. Vinci will be the new no. 2. This is a well deserved accomplishment for a women's doubles team that showed it was consistently the best in 2012.
John Coon has covered tennis at all levels as a sports reporter based in Salt Lake City. Coon was raised in a tennis loving family. All three of his sisters played competitively and he enjoys playing at a recreational level.