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Williamses Escape Doubles Upset Bid

Serena and Venus Williams faced a 3-0 third set deficit against Oksana Kalashnikova and Olga Savchuk in their Wimbledon opener, but rallied to win.

Published June 25, 2014 12:12

Williamses Escape Doubles Upset Bid
Serena Williams, Venus Williams

LONDON, England - The Wimbledon doubles event got underway Wednesday, with the Williams sisters among the first round winners.

Despite a legendary partnership that includes 13 Grand Slam titles, five of them coming at Wimbledon, the Williamses were on a three-match losing streak coming into this fortnight - the longest of their tenure that dates back to 1997.

And it looked like it would be four losses in a row against first-time teammates Oksana Kalashnikova and Olga Savchuk, when after splitting the first two sets the eighth-seeded sisters went down 3-0 in the third. But they regained their composure and tied the set at 3-3, eventually breaking serve to go up 5-4, and Venus then served out the 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 victory that featured 10 aces for the winners.

That improved the Williamses to 39-2 here, and 45-2 including the six matches they won en route to Olympic gold here in 2012. Next up for them are Kristina Barrois and Stefanie Voegele.

After falling earlier in the day to Agnieszka Radwanska in singles, Casey Dellacqua made sure the day wasn't a total loss by teaming with Ashleigh Barty for a 6-4, 7-6(3) defeat of Eugenie Bouchard and Heather Watson.

"It's better after a loss to get back out there," Dellacqua said. "We made the final here last year. We made the final in Birmingham. We've been playing some really good doubles together. If I have a busy day as I get older, since she's only 18, she can take more of the load, which is nice."

Three-time Grand Slams runners-up Barty and Dellacqua are seeded sixth this fortnight.

"Even though maybe as a team they hadn't played before, in singles they're extremely good players, so we were very prepared for a tough match," Dellacqua said of Bouchard and Watson. "But I think in the end Ashleigh and I were probably the better team. We could set some plays up since we had a little bit more experience on the doubles court.

"You never want to cruise through the tournament too easily. You want to have a few tough matches. It prepares you for later in the tournament when there are some important moments, and you want to know as a team you can get through them. It was a really good first round for us."

Joining the Australians in the second round were No.4 seeds Cara Black and Sania Mirza, who ended the hopes of wildcard entrants Martina Hingis and Vera Zvonareva, 6-2, 6-4.

Also advancing were second-seeded Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci, 10th-seeded Julia Goerges and Anna-Lena Groenefeld, 12th-seeded Anabel Medina Garrigues and Yaroslava Shvedova, 13th-seeded Lucie Hradecka and Michaella Krajicek, 14th-seeded Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic and 16th-seeded Garbiñe Muguruza and Carla Suárez Navarro.

One seeded duo did go down, as Andrea Petkovic and Magdalena Rybarikova were 7-5, 6-3 winners over No.3 seeds and 2011 Wimbledon champions Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik.

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