STUTTGART, Germany - Angelique Kerber and Andrea Petkovic's first WTA win as a pairing was a noteworthy one, as they topped one of 2013's most prolific teams on Wednesday in first round doubles action at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.
With top-seeded Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci withdrawing due to a right shoulder injury suffered by Vinci and second-seeded Nadia Petrova and Katarina Srebotnik having dropped their opener, third-seeded Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina found themselves the new favorites.
Makarova and Vesnina were fresh off clinching Russia's Fed Cup semifinal win over Slovakia last weekend to improve their record this season to 13-2 and 21-2 in their last 23 matches dating back to last fall. And while they were playing their 50th WTA match as a duo, Kerber and Petkovic were teaming up for just the third time, the first resulting in a first round loss here last year.
Nevertheless, Kerber and Petkovic rolled in the first set against the Russians and despite missing out on three match points on Petkovic's serve at 5-4 in the second set, cruised through the tie-break for a 61 76(2) triumph.
"We are both so happy that we won our doubles today," Kerber said. "It's just great. We play very well together and are just having fun out there and enjoying every point.
"We are very good friends and to win a match like this against good opponents is amazing."
Next up for Kerber and Petkovic are fellow German Anna-Lena Groenefeld and the Czech Republic's Kveta Peschke. Ironically, Groenefeld was also a Fed Cup doubles hero over the weekend, joining forces with Sabine Lisicki to clinch Germany's Fed Cup World Group play-off win over Serbia. And interestingly enough, Kerber was one of Germany's singles winners in that tie.
There was one quarterfinal match played, with the lone seeds to make it out of the first round going down. Darija Jurak and Katalin Marosi got their first win in four tries against No.4 seeds Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears, saving two match points in the match tie-break of their 36 64 119 victory.