Niculescu & Zakopalova's Dream Doha Day
Published February 12, 2014 12:12
Niculescu defeated Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Zakopalova upset No.9 seed Ana Ivanovic in second round singles action before the Romanian-Czech duo took on No.8 seeds Kristina Mladenovic and Flavia Pennetta in their doubles opener.
Niculescu and Zakopalova started off in a 64 31 hole before rallying for a 46 64 102 triumph. And though it was an upset on paper, it was hardly a surprise given how they have fared recently.
Niculescu and Zakopalova already have two WTA titles to their credit this year, in Shenzhen and Hobart, and are now 12-2 on the season and 15-2 as a pairing. Next up for them are Chan Hao-Ching and Liezel Huber.
In another on-paper upset that also wasn't a huge shock, Alla Kudryavtseva and Anastasia Rodionova were 64 61 winners over fifth-seeded Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Safarova. Kudryavtseva and Rodionova have three WTA titles as a team, with their season already featuring the Brisbane title and a runner-up showing in Pattaya City.
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni was another of Wednesday's competitors to advance in singles and doubles, as after upending Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in singles, the Croat and Anna-Lena Groenefeld were 62 46 106 victors over Marina Erakovic and Petra Martic in doubles.
The doubles schedule is loaded Thursday, with all eight second round matches on tap. That includes No.1 seeds Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci against Lisa Raymond and Zhang Shuai and No.2 seeds Hsieh Su-Wei and Peng Shuai against Irina Buryachok and Vitalia Diatchenko.
Defending champions Errani and Vinci are trying to hold off Peng's effort to unseat them as doubles World No.1 on next week's rankings.