INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - Top seeds Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond faced two match points on Sunday but never gave in, and now they have their longest winning streak since first joining forces last April: 13 and counting.
Facing Marina Erakovic and Monica Niculescu in their second round match at Indian Wells, Huber and Raymond found themselves at 57 35, with Huber serving 30-40 - two match points, one there and another at the no-ad deuce.
But they're the Top 2-ranked doubles players in the world for a reason, and they saved both of them, eventually reeling off 10 points in a row to clinch that game and win the next two games at love. The momentum was completely in their favor as they would win the set and cruise from there to a 57 75 103 win.
"Liezel and I knew we had a ton of chances throughout the match that just didn't go our way," Raymond said after the comeback victory. "We just had to hang in there, make a few adjustments and believe it would turn around.
"The crowd was incredible - they pulled us through today!"
It's not often a match tie-break swings as much in one team's favor as 10-3, but it's fair to say Huber and Raymond have mastered the art of the match tie-break - since joining together 11 months ago, they are 11-2 in them, and since they lost their first one, they have actually won 11 of their last 12. And to prop them up even more, in the only one they lost they had match point - Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik saved it en route to a 13-11 win in the Sydney final.
Raymond talked about the art of the match tie-break: "We use our experience. We play our best tennis when we are aggressive, when we go for it and then make the other team have to come up with something special."
Indeed, Peschke fired a huge inside out forehand return on that match point.
Other winners were Czechs Iveta Benesova and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, who rallied from 4-2 down in the second set to close No.4 seeds Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova out, 63 64; and Australians Casey Dellacqua and Sam Stosur, who got a walkover from No.8 seeds Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Vania King after King had to withdraw due to a GI illness.
Later on, No.2 seeds and defending champions Sania Mirza and Elena Vesnina had an even more dominant finish against Timea Bacsinszky and Alberta Brianti, playing a near-perfect match tie-break to win, 61 36 102.