Mervana & Sandra Win, Marina & Elena Talk
Published October 13, 2011 12:00
LINZ, Austria - Court 1 was a hub of doubles activity at the Generali Ladies Linz on Thursday, with all four quarterfinals taking the second show court.
For the two most accomplished teams in the draw it was not a great day, with No.1 seeds Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta having to retire after losing the first three games due to Dulko's nagging low back injury, and No.3 seeds Iveta Benesova and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova falling to Mervana Jugic-Salkic and Sandra Klemenschits in a close two-setter earlier on, 76(4) 64.
No.4 seeds Marina Erakovic and Elena Vesnina put the seeded teams on the board, however, trailing 64 10 and facing three points for a 64 20 deficit but overcoming Anabel Medina Garrigues and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, winning the last four points of the match tie-break to close it out, 46 63 106.
"This is the first tournament we've played together and I think it's going well," Erakovic said. "I feel like now that we have a couple of matches under our belt, we keep improving and can play even better moving forward in the tournament."
"Anabel and Anastasia are both very good players. It was a tough match for us but we were fighting until the end," Vesnina said. "We were saying from the beginning that the first set was a bit unlucky, we just needed to be more aggressive and consistent. After the first set our game was more complete.
"I really enjoy playing with Marina," Vesnina added. "She's an easy going person. I've known her for many years and she's a little sweet kiddie!"
Vesnina said Erakovic served like the ATP World Tour's Ivo Karlovic. "Well Elena returns like Djokovic, so it's the perfect combo," Erakovic replied. "I asked her a long time ago to play Auckland with me. She said no. Big mistake huh?"
"Thanks to Marina for saying I return like Djokovic. It's a huge lie," Vesnina said.
Erakovic and Vesnina may be playing their first tournament together, but they have a wealth of experience with other partners. Vesnina not only has five WTA doubles titles but another nine finals - including three at Grand Slams (one with Victoria Azarenka, one with Vera Zvonareva and one with Sania Mirza); Erakovic has four WTA doubles titles to her name and another three finals.
"For me doubles is a very good thing," Erakovic said. "I can work on my serve and my volleys, and I just like the game itself, the way it's played - it's a much faster game. But what I like best about it is you can really connect with your partner, have a bit of a laugh and enjoy yourself. You can change ends and talk about something completely unrelated to tennis. It's a good time for me. And I'm really lucky to be playing with Elena, because she does a very good job."
"I've always liked playing doubles - I've played it since I was a junior," Vesnina said. "As Marina said, it's a different game, much faster and different strategy. It's not only good to practice your serves and volleys but also your returns, and you also work on playing on key moments with the no-ad scoring system."
The Russian also commented on the fan experience. "I think doubles is also fun to watch. When you have four good players all on the court, having good rallies and having fun, it can be really interesting and entertaining. I think the level of doubles is improving all the time and hopefully the people are enjoying it."
In the only all-unseeded quarterfinal match of the day, the all-German team of Julia Goerges and Anna-Lena Groenefeld beat Italian combination Alberta Brianti and Sara Errani comfortably in straight sets, 64 60.