Australian shines in taking out doubles title
AUSSIE John Peers and Finland's Henri Kontinen are grand slam men's doubles champions for the first time.
The fourth-seeded duo's 7-5 7-5 win over American twins Bob and Mike Bryan in Saturday night's Australian Open final was their 16th out of their last 17 matches.
It was their third victory over the legendary Bryan brothers in that period, which included claiming last year's Paris Masters 1000 and ATP World Tour Finals titles.
The Bryans were bidding to break Todd Woodbridge's grand slam men's doubles record of 16 titles.
"It is an amazing feeling," Peers said.
"I was looking through some of the names on the trophy. To be alongside some of the guys and idols I looked up to in the past is something that hasn't sunk in yet.
"To be able to do that and be a part of what Australian legacy has been with tennis is something I was dreaming of as a child.
"To be able to do it and hopefully continue to do that is something I will continue to work towards. It's a humbling sort of experience and something that I'll never take for granted."
Peers, 28, was impressive all night and the only player who didn't concede serve.
The Australian Davis Cup star blasted three aces in one game in giving his combination a 5-4 second-set lead and also struck a perfect forehand lob winner on the final point.
"It definitely was one of my great shots on match points. To be able to do it on our second match point was really good," Peers said.
"I just tried to play it as another point and was lucky enough to pull it out, to be honest. It was really nice."
Peers was twice a grand slam doubles runner-up in 2015 with former British partner Jamie Murray, brother of world No.1 Andy, before switching to Kontinen at the start of the 2016 season.
They enjoyed instant success in their first tournament together in Brisbane last year, winning the first of five titles for the season.
Peers, who lives in Perth after growing up in Melbourne, is Australia's first grand slam men's doubles winner since Stephen Huss paired with South African Wesley Moodie to claim Wimbledon in 2005.
He is also the first local champion at the Australian Open since Woodbridge won the 2001 final alongside Swede Jonas Bjorkman.
Peers' mother, Elizabeth Little, made the last 16 in the Australian Open women's singles in 1977 and his sister, Sally Peers, won a round at the 2010 US Open.