MOSCOW, Russia - Topping Caroline Wozniacki and Samantha Stosur's three set epic at the Kremlin Cup was always going to be a tough ask, but Sunday's all-Russian doubles final very nearly managed just that.
A rollercoaster encounter that had more twists than a Bulgakov novel eventually saw top seeds Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina triumph, defeating Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova on a match tie-break.
After collecting their first title together a few weeks ago in Beijing and three straight set wins in Moscow, Makarova and Vesnina entered the final brimming with confidence. And the first set suggested another easy outing could be on the cards, as they knocked on the door before finally claiming the decisive break at 4-3 up
However, No.2 seeds Kirilenko and Petrova, were not about to go down quietly, breaking Vesnina's serve twice in the second set to force a match tie-break. When Kirilenko and Petrova then captured an early mini-break, it looked like an already memorable week - they qualified for the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships - Istanbul 2012 by reaching the final - was set for a perfect finish.
It was not to be. Makarova and Vesnina regained their composure to take a stranglehold of the tie-break and, despite a late wobble, eventually closed it out, 63 16 108.
The victory was all the more memorable for Muscovite Makarova, who spent her teenage years watching compatriots Anna Kournikova, Anastasia Myskina and Elena Dementieva in action at the Olympic Stadium.
"It was a really amazing feeling to win it at home in Moscow," Makarova said. "I've been coming here since I was a child and ever since then I've wanted to win this tournament.
"It's definitely a great moment and to finish the season like this and I can go into the off season with this amazing feeling after winning with Elena."
While Makarova and Vesnina can now put their racquets away until pre-season training begins in a month or so, Kirilenko and Petrova must regroup and turn their attention to Istanbul.
Hlavackova and Hradecka were also in action this week, defeating Irina-Camelia Begu and Monica Niculescu in Luxembourg, 63 64, to pick up their fourth tournament of the year. It was not all plain sailing in the Low Countries, though; the Czechs saved three match points in the last eight and were also a set and a break down in their semifinal against Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Andrea Petkovic.
"We played so well and were so concentrated," Hradecka said. "Some of the earlier matches we were not at our best and were made to work hard, but in the final we played so well and were 100% on every point."
"We're very happy to go into Istanbul with a win like that," Hlavackova added. "We came here to warm up for Istanbul and winning a tournament is a great feeling and a great way to warm up!"