Teen-ager Venus Williams, the U.S. Open women’s singles runner-up, won her first Grand Slam tennis title Sunday, teaming with Justin Gimelstob for a lopsided mixed doubles triumph.
Williams and Gimelstob, playing their first tournament together, won the Australian Open title 6-2, 6-1 over Cyril Suk and Helena Sukova, a Czech brothersister pair who have won three Grand Slam mixed doubles championships.
Williams, 17, served out the match at love, and said later that she and her 16-year-old sister, Serena, almost had decided not to come to the Australian Open.
“We didn’t want to get on the plane ride” for the long flight to Australia, she said, “and we joked that by the time we got off the ride we would be out of our minds and we wouldn’t be able to play anyway.”
She hadn’t expected her first Slam title would come in mixed doubles, she said, “but I always thought it would be fun to play mixed. I had a good partner.”
Gimelstob described the partnership as a “democracy.”
“She has never played mixed doubles before and I have a pretty good experience at it, so we just discussed and combined our opinions and came up with things we needed to do to win,” he said.
In their closest match, the pair, entered as wild cards, defeated No. 3 seeds Patrick Galbraith and Lisa Raymond of the U.S. 7-6 (7-2), 3-6, 6-2 in the quarterfinals.
Sukova and Suk were seeded fifth.
Gimelstob, ranked 106th in singles, lost in his first round. He and American Brian Macphie reached the quarterfinals in doubles.
Another first-time pair, No. 1 singles player Martina Hingis and 15-year-old Croatian Mirjana Lucic, won the women’s doubles.