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Team Bucie Dances Into Second Straight 2017 SF, Outlasts Mladenovic, Kuznetsova

Top seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands & Lucie Safarova survived a tough test from newly paired Kristina Mladenovic & Svetlana Kuznetsova to reach the last four at the BNP Paribas Open.

Published March 15, 2017 12:13

Team Bucie Dances Into Second Straight 2017 SF, Outlasts Mladenovic, Kuznetsova
Lucie Safarova, Bethanie Mattek-Sands

INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - It came down to a match tie-break, but World No.1 Bethanie Mattek-Sands and partner Lucie Safarova outlasted stiff opposition from the unseeded but dangerous Kristina Mladenovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova, emerging victorious, 6-3, 3-6, 10-8, to reach their second semifinal of the season and win their eighth straight match together.

"We played some great players; we've obviously played Kiki a couple of times, and Svetlana's feeling great right now," Mattek-Sands said after the match. "They're both playing well in singles, so we knew they were going to come in with a lot of confidence.

Mattek-Sands and Safarova picked up where they left off last season to start 2017, winning their fourth major title at the Australian Open in the American's first tournament since ascending to No.1 on the WTA doubles rankings. Despite some tough matches in Indian Wells, Team Bucie has kept winning, though it came down to the wire against Mladenovic and Kuznetsova, who were playing their first event together.

"It was a great match; there was a lot of great points, like I'm pretty sure Lucie had one cross court rally that went almost 35 balls, but it was great tennis from both teams."

Mladenovic and Kuznetsova are both still alive in the singles event; Kuznetsova reached her first semifinal at the Premier Mandatory event earlier in the day, and the duo recovered from a set down to force a match tie-break, which Mattek-Sands and Safarova took to clinch victory after over 80 minutes on the court.

Up next for the longtime pair will be anothe remixed 2016 team in No.6 seeds Martina Hingis and Chan Yung-Jan, who reached their second semifinal in three events together on Tuesday after they dispatched No.4 seeds Sania Mirza and Barbora Strycova in straight sets.

"It's going to be another tough match and another tough team ahead," Safarova said. "I think we had a really strong draw, but we stayed strong and positive, and did great. That's our approach to tomorrow as well."

For all their hard work on the court, Mattek-Sands and Safarova have nonetheless managed to bring their signature sense of fun to the California desert; the pair brought along fitness guru and celebrity choreographer Shaun T and fielded some tough questions from a local elementary school.

"We actually just finished another dance with Shaun T; he's back here cheering, and he helped choreograph a Boomerang dance that we did," Mattek-Sands said. "I think that's something Lucie and I have always done; we've had a lot of fun on the court and off. That helps us play well and keep going through the long schedule we have on the WTA tour."

Check out the full video from the kid reporters, posted on Mattek-Sands' official Facebook page:

"All the questions were really nice, and it's the best to see all their excitement," Safarova said of the experience. "Hopefully we can be inspirations, and we're just having fun."

In the last quarterfinal of the day, No.2 seeds and reigning Olympic champions Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina eased past surprise quarterfinalists Shuko Aoyama and Yang Zhouxuan, 6-2, 6-1 to complete the semifinal line-up; the Russians will take on the all-Czech duo of Lucie Hradecka and Katerina Siniakova in the other semifinal.

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