Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina lost a heartbreaker in the Wimbledon final two years ago - but they'll have another chance to take the title this year against debutantes Chan Hao-ching and Monica Niculescu.
WTA Staff

LONDON, Great Britain - Two years ago, Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina let a 5-2 third set lead slip in the Wimbledon doubles final.

Tomorrow, they'll get a second bite of the cherry following their 7-5, 6-2 dismissal of No.12 seeds Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Kveta Peschke.

The No.2 seeds will face No.9 seeds Chan Hao-ching and Monica Niculescu, who advanced to their maiden Grand Slam final as a team with a marathon 7-6(4) 4-6, 9-7 win over Renata Voracova and Makoto Ninomiya, in a shade under three hours.

A cagy first set saw both partnerships demonstrate their complementary strengths - but also weaknesses. 42-year-old Peschke, the 2011 women's doubles champion at Wimbledon with Katarina Srebotnik, showcased feathery touch with a number of stop volleys that took advantage of the Russians' frequent one-up-one-back formation - but was also the target of the heaviest groundstroke bombs unleashed by Makarova in particular.

Her 32-year-old partner started in accurate, aggressive form both on return and at net - but failed to hold even once in three service games in the first set.

Groenefeld wasn't alone in that: there were seven breaks of serve in the opening stanza's 12 games, with Vesnina losing her delivery twice, Peschke once and the hitherto solid Makarova failing to serve the set out at 5-4.

Towards the end of the set, it came down to a triptych of brilliant lobs from Vesnina - two en route to breaking Groenefeld in the 11th game, and then another for good measure for a timely first hold of serve to close the set out.

With a set under their belts, the Russians began to move through the gears to tighten their hold on the match. Playing with more freedom, their instinctive synchronicity after five full-time years as a partnership was evident in the second set as they managed to dominate both at baseline at net by setting points up for each other with angles, power and even more lobs.

Though Peschke continued to wow the crowd with her finesse, it was the Czech's delivery now proving the most vulnerable: she was broken twice, in the first game and then again, from 40-0 up, in the fifth.

By contrast, neither Makarova nor Vesnina would face a break point on their serves in the second set, and increasingly outmaneouvred their opponents as they built a 5-1 lead.

Vesnina's delivery had been a weakness in the match's opening stages, but by now the 30-year-old was in full flow, and she made no mistake in serving the match out to 15.

In the other semifinal, both teams were looking to break new ground in the women's doubles competition - Chan was the only one of the four to have ever advanced past the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam in any discipline, finishing runner-up in the mixed doubles at the All-England Club in 2014.

In a lengthy first set that lasted an hour, the No.9 seeds trailed by a break twice - the second of which coming at 5-6 after failing to convert two set points in the 10th game.

Nonetheless, the unseeded duo dropped serve in the ensuing game and Chan and Niculescu edged out a tiebreak to move one set away from their first Grand Slam final. 

The second set went with serve for the duration, and Voracova and Nimomiya sprung to life after saving two break points in the ninth game, rallying to win the last four points of the set from 30-0 to even the match at one set apiece. 

The first 12 games of the decider went with serve, with each team holding just one break point chance, but Chan and Niculescu broke serve to try and serve out the match at 7-6, only to see the Czech and Japanese team hit back and tie the set again at 7-7.

However, Chan and Niculescu would not be denied at the second time of asking, and served out the match on their first match point.