Defending Champs Dulko & Pennetta Done In Rome
Published May 13, 2011 05:15
ROME, Italy - Alexandra Dulgheru and Jarmila Gajdosova are playing together for the first time this week at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, and what a week they're having. They followed up their first and second round victories over unseeded teams with a shocking 76(6) 64 upset of No.1 seeds and defending champions Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta in the quarterfinals on Friday.
After dropping a tight first set, it appeared Dulko and Pennetta were mounting a comeback, as they had leads of 3-1 and 4-3 in the second set, but Pennetta's serve was broken at 4-4 and Gajdosova served out the match. Neither Dulgheru nor Gajdosova had ever beaten a doubles team ranked so high; Pennetta is No.1 in the world and Dulko is No.2. Dulko and Pennetta have now failed to advance past the quarterfinals in the four events they have played since winning their first major at the Australian Open in January.
Dulgheru and Gajdosova will play another unseeded duo in Saturday's semifinals, Peng Shuai and Zheng Jie. The Chinese followed up their upset of fourth-seeded Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond with a 63 64 defeat of eighth-seeded María José Martínez Sánchez and Anabel Medina Garrigues. Peng and Zheng have now matched their best result in their three career events together (not including Fed Cup), a semifinal showing at Charleston in April. Peng won this event in 2009 alongside Hsieh Su-Wei.
Meanwhile, the bottom half of the draw is going according to form, as No.2 seeds Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik will take on No.3 seeds Vania King and Yaroslava Shvedova for a spot in the final. Peschke and Srebotnik got the best of No.6 seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Meghann Shaughnessy, 62 76(4), taking a 4-2 lead in their series with the Americans. The Czech-Slovak duo has been the WTA's most consistent team recently, having advanced to at least the semis in eight of their 10 events in 2011.
"It was a tough match today. Yaroslava and Vania played really well," Rodionova tweeted.
In their only previous meeting with Peschke and Srebotnik, King and Shvedova beat them in the quarters of last year's Wimbledon on the way to the title. Interestingly enough, King and Shvedova have yet to win a title that isn't a major, but appear to have a good chance to change that this weekend.