LONDON, England - Top-seeded Americans Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond were the first team to book a doubles final four berth at the Olympics with a routine victory over sixth-seeded Russians Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina on Wednesday.
Huber and Raymond converted on five of seven break point opportunities and committed only six unforced errors compared to 17 for their opponents en route to a 63 63 win. One of the few items missing from Huber and Raymond's sparkling doubles resumes is an Olympic medal, as both came up empty in their three previous appearances between them. Now, they will at the very least get the chance to play for a bronze medal and if they win their next match - a gold.
"We want to take it one match at a time, but it's certainly nice to be back in a semifinal, especially at the Olympic Games," Raymond said. "That was our goal, and we're here now, so it's nice to be playing good tennis leading into the medal rounds. Today was a really good match for us."
The only other match that was completed was Chuang Chia-Jung and Hsieh Su-Wei's second round upset of seventh-seeded Flavia Pennetta and Francesca Schiavone. It resumed Wednesday with the Italians up a set and the second set knotted at 5-5. However, Chuang and Hsieh prevailed in the second set and then at 5-4 in the third, Hsieh held at love to close out the 67(3) 75 64 triumph. The Taiwanese duo will take on fourth-seeded Czechs Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka in Thursday's quarterfinals.
Among the winners on the first day of the inaugural Olympic mixed doubles event were top-seeded Belarusians Victoria Azarenka and Max Mirnyi, third-seeded Americans Raymond and Mike Bryan and Australians Samantha Stosur and Lleyton Hewitt.
"It's great to still be in the Olympics," Stosur said. "Obviously we would have loved to have gone further in the singles, but at least we've got this one left. We'll give it 100% every day and really be pumped up for the next match."