DUBAI, UAE - Cara Black and Anastasia Rodionova have been in prime form so far at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, the latest evidence being a routine defeat of Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur in quarterfinal action on Thursday.
Black and Rodionova kicked off their 2013 season with their first WTA title in Auckland, but had not advanced deep into a draw since. Raymond and Stosur have paired up for 20 titles, including two Grand Slams and two WTA Championships, but joined forces just once in 2011, once in 2012 and so far twice this year.
On this day, Black and Rodionova had little trouble in recording a 61 63 win. Black is now 20-3 at this event, having been victorious in 2007, 2008 and 2009 alongside Liezel Huber. Raymond was defending champion with Huber.
"We just had a game plan and we're really happy with the way we executed it," Black said. "I think we played really well. We didn't give them much of a chance to get into the match. We're very happy with how we started out on top and stayed on top."
"We haven't played them before," Black said. "We're looking forward to another match against another great team tomorrow."
Petrova and Srebotnik overcame Julia Goerges and Angelique Kerber in a thriller, 67(7) 76(4) 105. They failed to convert on three set points in the first set and had to rally from 4-0 down in the second set tie-break before taking control.
"It was a really tough match," Petrova said. "They played really well. I think that Goerges was the best player on the court. She was serving well, returning well, having great reactions at the net and playing very aggressive. I think it is the best I've seen her play doubles.
"As for us, we had a few set points in the first set, but couldn't put them away, and the set just slipped through our fingers. We were mentally strong in the second set tie-break, and then in the super tie-break we just took the initiative."
Petrova and Srebotnik's year has included a title in Sydney and runner-up showing last week in Doha.
"We're having fun," Petrova said. "I find doubles so much more enjoyable than singles. You have another person to talk to, discuss tactics with and laugh with. I really enjoy playing with Katarina. She is a great person, always positive and always has a smile on her face."