Surprises In Store?
Published March 23, 2010 12:00
MIAMI, FL, USA - Parity has reigned on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour so far this year, with only two teams having captured multiple titles. It remains to be seen if that trend will continue at the Sony Ericsson Open, which released its doubles draw Tuesday.
No. 1 seeds Cara Black and Liezel Huber, victorious in Auckland and Sydney in 2010, will be looking to shake off their quarterfinal defeat to Chan Yung-Jan and Zheng Jie in Indian Wells last week. Although they have never won as a duo here, they were runners-up in 2007 and 2008, and Huber did win with Magdalena Maleeva in 2003. Black and Huber could have a chance at revenge against Chan and Zheng in the second round this week. They also could have a potential quarterfinal versus arguably the most dangerous unseeded team in the draw, Indian Wells titlists Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik.
Although the BNP Paribas Open was their first title together, Peschke and Srebotnik have had other impressive results - including a runner-up showing in Dubai earlier this year. They have had great success in Miami with other partners, Peschke having been runner-up here last year with Lisa Raymond and Srebotnik taking the title in 2008 with Ai Sugiyama. Also on the top half of the draw are third-seeded Nadia Petrova and Samantha Stosur, who dropped a match tie-break to Peschke and Srebotnik in the Indian Wells final. Petrova won Miami in 2004 alongside Meghann Shaughnessy, while Stosur won in 2006 and 2007 with Raymond.
On the bottom half of the draw, No.2 seeds Nuria Llagostera Vives and María José Martínez Sánchez - titlists only once this year - could have a quarterfinal clash with their quarterfinal conquerors in Indian Wells, No.6 seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Yan Zi. Also in that section of the draw are two intriguing wildcard teams: Kim Clijsters and Kirsten Flipkens and Svetlana Kuznetsova and Alicia Molik. Clijsters holds 11 Tour doubles titles, including two Grand Slams. Kuznetsova and Molik were victorious here in 2005, and Kuznetsova also won here last year with Amélie Mauresmo.
No.4 seeds Lisa Raymond and Rennae Stubbs will be looking to shake off their first round defeat in Indian Wells. They reunited at the start of this year after pairing with others since 2005, but so far their results have been shaky, having not advanced past the semis of any event. Miami may be just the place for them to get back to their winning ways, as they won this event in 2002 and were runners-up in 2001 and 2005. Raymond also won this event in 2006 and 2007 with Stosur.
Residing in Raymond and Stubbs' section is probably the most dangerous unseeded team on the bottom half of the draw - Iveta Benesova and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova - who have already been victorious this year in Paris [Indoors] and Monterrey. However, the Czechs will be challenged right off the bat, as they play No.5 seeds Alisa Kleybanova and Francesca Schiavone in the first round.