INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - Defending champions and No.2 seeds Sania Mirza and Elena Vesnina advanced to the final of the BNP Paribas Open doubles in dramatic fashion, surviving five match points in a showdown with No.3 seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka.
Mirza and Vesnina got the best of the Czechs in their first meeting in the first round here last year. Then in the final of last year's French Open, Hlavackova and Hradecka were victorious. Thursday's clash was by far the most dramatic, though, with Hlavackova and Hradecka seizing a 75 52 lead before Mirza and Vesnina's comeback began. Hlavackova and Hradecka had two match points on Hradecka's serve at 5-3, then three more on Vesnina's serve at 5-4. From there, Mirza and Vesnina took over, surviving the second set and racing out to a 7-0 lead in the match tie-break en route to the 57 75 103 triumph.
Mirza and Vesnina's opponents in the final will be top-seeded Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond, who had their easiest match of the event in disposing of Iveta Benesova and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, 61 62, in 55 minutes on Friday.
Huber and Raymond are riding a 15-match winning streak, and if they are victorious on Saturday, they will have captured consecutive Premier-level events in Paris, Doha, Dubai and Indian Wells. Also, Raymond would break a tie with Lindsay Davenport for a record seventh title at this event, but just her first since 2007. The Americans will have their work cut out for them on Saturday, as they are just 1-3 against Mirza and Vesnina, though they did win the most recent encounter in the Dubai final last month.
A trend in favor of Huber and Raymond is that in the five match-ups featuring No.1 vs. No.2 seeds so far in 2012, the No.1 seeds have prevailed each time. Also, in the six No.1 vs. No.2 clashes in Indian Wells history, the No.1 seeds have been victorious all but once.