MADRID, Spain - With Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka and Nadia Petrova and Katarina Srebotnik going down on Wednesday, it was the first time in the history of the Mutua Madrid Open that the No.1 and No.2 seeds dropped their doubles openers.
The top-seeded Hlavackova and Hradecka lost in fairly routine fashion, as Svetlana Kuznetsova and Flavia Pennetta won five straight games from 2-2 in the first set and were never broken en route to a 62 64 triumph. It wasn't a total surprise, though, in that Kuznetsova and Pennetta beat the Czechs in straight sets in their only previous meeting in the first round of Miami in March. Cara Black and Marina Erakovic await Kuznetsova and Pennetta in Thursday's quarterfinals.
There was a bit more drama in Janette Husarova and Sabine Lisicki's tilt with the second-seeded Petrova and Srebotnik. Down 5-4 in the first set, Husarova and Lisicki won six straight games to capture the first set and take an early lead in the second set. However, Petrova and Srebotnik rallied to force a match tie-break. From 6-6 in the match tie-break, Husarova and Lisicki did not surrender another point for a 75 57 106 victory.
"This week is the first time Janette and I are playing together and it's a lot of fun," Lisicki said. "We play totally different styles, and you never know what Janette is going to do next - I don't even know it, so it must be hard for our opponents too! We played against a really good team today, and we're really happy that we pulled off the win."
"It's a pleasure playing with Sabine," Husarova said. "I'm enjoying it very much. It was my idea to get together and I asked her through a mutual friend. I'm very happy that she said yes!"
Next up for Husarova and Lisicki is another team that pulled off a second round surprise, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Lucie Safarova. The Russian-Czech pairing won seven straight games from 5-4 down in the first set to take control of their 75 61 defeat of No.5 seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Sania Mirza. The last time the duos faced off, Mattek-Sands and Mirza were victorious in the quarters of Dubai in February en route to the title.
The one seeded team that did advance was third-seeded Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina, 63 63, over Chan Hao-Ching and Olga Govortsova. Last year's runners-up and the new on-paper favorites play Kristina Mladenovic and Galina Voskoboeva next.