Victoria Azarenka hopes the third time in a Grand Slam Doubles Final is the charm when she and Maria Kirilenko play No. 1 seeds Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta in the Australian Open women's doubles final. The match will air live on The Tennis Channel tonight at 11 p.m. Eastern Time.
"Happy to be in the final in dubs! Having a lot fun playing with maria! One more to go! ;)," Vika tweeted following the semifinals.
Azarenka, a member of the 2010 Washington Kastles, fell in women's doubles finals at the 2008 Australian Open with Shahar Peer and the 2009 French Open with Elena Vesnina.
The Belarusian star has also played in three mixed doubles major finals, winning the 2007 US Open with countryman Max Mirnyi and the 2008 French Open with Bob Bryan.
Those experiences should serve her well as their opponents, Dulko and Pennetta, have combined to reach only one Grand Slam final: Pennetta falling in the 2005 US Open women's doubles championship match with Elena Dementieva.
That being said, Dulko and Pennetta are the top seeds for a reason as the hottest women's doubles team on tour. The Italian/Argentinean duo captured seven titles together in 2010, including the year-end WTA Championships.
Vika and Kirilenko are making their Grand Slam debut together but have already teamed for one title, on the hard courts of Cincinnati last August. In the semifinals at that tournament, they defeated Dulko and Pennetta 6-2, 6-1. But that loss was avenged in Kirilenko's hometown of Moscow last October, when the world's #1 team beat Azarenka and Kirilenko 7-6(3), 6-4.
Kirilenko shares a past with each of her opponents in the final, having won the 2005 Tokyo title with Dulko and the 2008 Estoril title with Pennetta.
To reach the championship match, the No. 12 seeds Azarenka and Kirilenko upset No. 2 seeds Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik 6-2, 6-4 in Wednesday's semifinals, while Dulko and Pennetta prevailed over No. 3 seeds Liezel Huber and Nadia Petrova 6-4, 7-5.