MIAMI, FL, USA - Two huge surprises on the final day of first round doubles action Saturday at the Sony Open Tennis saw top-seeded Hsieh Su-Wei and Peng Shuai and third-seeded Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci beaten.
Hsieh and Peng, whose 11 WTA-level titles together include Wimbledon last year and Indian Wells just last week, took on Kimiko Date-Krumm and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, whose one previous outing resulted in a quarterfinal showing in Indian Wells last week.
But Date-Krumm and Zahlavova Strycova looked like the more experienced team in their 62 76(7) triumph that saw them rally from a 5-1 second set deficit and overcome five set points, thus handing the WTA's top-ranked team just its second loss this season.
"After the first set, we played more passive, which wasn't working," Date-Krumm said. "But then after we were losing 5-1 in the second set, we calmed down and stopped making as many mistakes."
As for four-time Grand Slam champions Errani and Vinci, they were on the short end of a 76(7) 16 1210 scoreline against first-time pairing Garbiñe Muguruza and Carla Suárez Navarro despite winning four more points than they lost. The Spaniards survived two match points in the match tie-break.
Making the day not a total loss for the seeds were second-seeded Russians Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina. It was not easy, however, as they were two games from defeat at 64 43 against Marina Erakovic and Petra Martic before going on to a 46 64 106 triumph.
"It was a very difficult match for us," Vesnina said. "Ekaterina played a two-and-a-half-hour singles match today, so she was a little bit tired. Our opponents played really well. We won only one out of nine or 10 deciding deuce points, so we felt we were a little bit unlucky, especially in the first set. But we are so happy that we turned it around and won it in the super tie-break."
Vesnina talked about playing two events, as both she and Makarova are still alive in singles.
"It's not easy, but we really enjoy playing doubles together," Vesnina said. "Before the match, we said, 'Let's do it in two sets, so we don't have to spend a lot of time on court.' But it didn't work out that way. It's difficult but we practice for this and are physically ready to handle it."