Pennetta & Dulko capture 2011 Aussie Open doubles title.

Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta survived match points to beat Victoria Azarenka and Maria Kirilenko to win the Australian Open women’s doubles title. The top ranked pair, 2010 Wimbledon semi-finalists, struggled in the first set and trailed 5-4 in the second. But Argentine Dulko and her Italian partner powered back, and after a break at 3-1 in the decider, came through 2-6 7-5 6-1 in 131 minutes. The duo won seven titles last year but this was their first Grand Slam crown. “Last year was a great year, this year we are starting really good,” said Pennetta, who lost to the Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova in the fourth round of the singles.

Dulko and Pennetta were blown away in the opening set against Russia’s Kirilenko and Azarenka of Belarus and then had to face match points at 5-4 in the second set. With Azaranka wasting chances for glory when serving for the match, the top seeds broke back and then won three games in a row to level the match at one set each. Dulko and Pennetta broke early in the decider and swiftly wrapped up the victory when Azarenka, a fourth-round loser to China’s Na Li in the singles, hit a backhand into the net.

The win means Dulko remains the world’s top-ranked doubles player while Pennetta stays second.

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